StartUp Britain opened the first of its PopUp Britain shops last week in Richmond as part of the StartUp High Street initiative, which is backed by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Housing Minister Grant Shapps.
Under the scheme, ministers hope to rejuvenate the UK’s tired-looking high streets by making use of empty shops while providing start-ups with the opportunity of co-funding the cost of opening up an empty shop.
The pilot shop, which has been empty for over a year prior to this, will stay open for three months, during which time six start-ups will inhabit the premises for two weeks at a time and share the cost of the rent, with each paying £135 for their two week occupancy.
Co-founder of StartUp Britain, Emma Jones, said the initiative is “win-win-win”, giving start-ups an unprecedented, cost-effective platform for their business, helping landlords make some money from empty properties, and helping to attract more people to Britain’s high streets.
Jones said: “The plan is to spend these three months really getting the model right here in Richmond. We want to get it right for the tenants now, making sure they generate sales and pick up retail skills, and create a successful template that we can potentially roll out nationwide.”
The scheme has already received invaluable support from local retailers and StartUp Britain sponsors, which has included a tailor-made, two-week shop insurance policy from AXA, six laptops from Dell, accounting software from Intuit, furniture and fittings from Dwell, online payments support from PayPal and two weeks’ free billboard space from JC Decaux.
Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith said of the launch in his constituency: “It is an innovative and clever way not only to provide opportunities for small businesses at a time when they need it most, but to revitalise our high streets by restoring and using empty spaces.”
Accountant, Jon Stocker, specialises in offering advice, support and guidance on matters involving personal tax planning, business decision-making and business start-ups.