As part of the Government’s efforts to regenerate high streets and encourage entrepreneurs, the shop is being opened in time for final Christmas present buying this week by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk, with the support of national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain.
To directly support enterprise and showcase Britain’s best new retailers, Ministers have set up the pop-up store inside their Victoria-based offices, with national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain’s help, to act as a blueprint for high streets across the country to emulate.
Mr Pickles will unveil the ’first ever Whitehall pop-up shop’. Every fortnight six new British start-up businesses will move into the shop sharing costs and trialling their exciting business ideas.
The shop will be open to the public for at least a year and offer affordable retail space to over 150 small start-up businesses. The department is not seeking any financial return from the shop, which is being supported by sponsors Intuit, John Lewis and StartUp Britain.
Ministers believe pop-ups are great way to get empty spaces used and the model can be easily replicated in other town centres across the country. Mr Prisk has written to the British Property Federation to urge landlords to get on board. He said all 330 town team partners will receive support to facilitate new pop-ups in their empty high street premises, which could support thousands of new businesses.
The Government is committed to rejuvenating the high street. A multi-million pound strategy is backing local partnerships with the best ideas to breathe new life into their town centres. This includes the doubling of small business rate relief, mentoring from retail experts, and workshops to address town centre challenges. A guide to opening a pop-up will be published soon and StartUp Britain has published a tool kit today.
Government is providing over £80 million of start-up loans for young entrepreneurs, which could create over 30,000 new businesses. Ministers are also changing planning restrictions so landlords can alter how an empty shop is used for up to two years.
All these steps will make it easier for start-ups to find other low-cost stores to set up in. Last year 450,000 people set up new businesses. Almost two thirds of new start ups say they would benefit from trading on the high street.
Eric Pickles said: “We are absolutely determined to support the high street and we know pop-ups are a great we to bring empty shops back to life and get new businesses going, so we thought why not open one right here in the department in time for Cardinal Place shoppers to get their Christmas goodies. It will also showcase how we can unleash more of our best and brightest young entrepreneurs onto this country’s high streets.”
Emma Jones, co-founder of StartUp Britain, said: “The PopUp Britain model gives retail entrepreneurs an affordable opportunity to scale their businesses and become a part of their own high street.
“We’re seeing record numbers of people setting up businesses, and they are starting out small and online. They are the driving force of the economy. This initiative offers them a chance to physically test out new markets as well as get their products in front of consumers and big buyers in a way that has never been available to them before.
“By actively encouraging local authorities to give start-ups access to empty shops across Britain, we hope it will help accelerate British enterprise as well as providing a vibrant addition to the local British shopping experience.”