The initiative, StartUp High Street, has won the support of Business Secretary Vince Cable, and aims to offer an unprecedented opportunity to fledgling retailers, as well as helping to rejuvenate the complexion of the UK’s flagging high street scene.
Part of the national campaign’s blueprint for start-up support includes PitchUp, a scheme which will see start-ups given the opportunity to pitch their products to high street retailer John Lewis, with a view to getting their merchandise onto the British department store’s shelves.
A pilot store in Richmond called PopUp Britain is set to open later this month, with the first six start-up businesses installed.
Emma Jones, co-founder of the national start-up campaign, said: “StartUp High Street gives small start-up businesses a fantastic opportunity to scale their businesses and become a part of their high street. We’re seeing record numbers of people setting up businesses, and this new wave of entrepreneurs are starting out small and online. This initiative offers them a chance to test out new markets as well as get their products in front of big names like John Lewis. By giving start-ups access to empty shops across Britain, we hope that as StartUp High Street evolves, it will help provide a much-needed adrenalin shot to the local British shopping experience.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The government believes that start-ups are crucial to driving the growth of the economy, as demonstrated by our recent funding of the StartUp Loans scheme. The opportunity provided for entrepreneurs under the StartUp High Street initiative will give new businesses important access to the high street and offer them the support they need early on to help them to thrive. The scheme will be a welcome addition to our high streets, opening up shops, displaying enterprising spirit and showcasing the vital support on offer to help new businesses to succeed.”
Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Adviser, said: “StartUp High Street is a great example of what can and needs to be done to support small businesses. They are the driving force of the economy and now more than ever we’ve got to do everything we can to help them find ways to grow. Most start-ups exist online already, selling their products via the web. This opportunity will allow them a low-cost avenue to a whole new market, with the new experiences that will bring. This initiative by StartUp Britain should be applauded.”
Enterprise on every street corner
Sally Revell, UK Business Manager for Intuit, commented: “British retail is going through an evolution – big business has had its day on the high street and it is now time for small independent retailers to take centre stage. As a provider of accounting software for small businesses, Intuit is proud to support this initiative that aims to put enterprise on every street corner. This starts by helping new companies gain valuable experience in a retail environment to help get their business off the ground.
“One of the first PopUp Britain businesses, Elephant Branded, is a member of Intuit 100Up, a community of the UK’s most inspiring and high-potential start-ups and is a great example of the kind of business that will revitalise Britain’s high streets.”