Retail property organisation Revo has launched an initiative offering UK start-ups free space at up to 100 shopping centres, including Westfield Stratford and the Bullring in Birmingham.
The project, called Free Space+, is supported by nine retail landlords: Westfield, British Land, Hammerson, Capital & Regional, M&G, Montagu Evans, Ellandi, New River Retail and Moorgarth.
Growing businesses in the UK can apply for free retail space at a shopping centre from 20 September. Applicants will be required to identify their preferred shopping complex and demonstrate how trading from that location will accelerate their growth.
A judging panel will select ten winners in January 2018, which will then be able to occupy space at their chosen centre for three months.
Each successful applicant will also receive a support package from the British Independent Retailers’ Association, including insurance, legal advice and mentoring. Its value is worth up to £30,000 including market rent for the retail space.
Revo chief executive Ed Cooke said: “Physical retail space is not only a point of sale, it is integral to building a retail brand and driving website traffic. Free Space+ is the first business incubation initiative of its kind, not only allowing businesses to trade from some of the UK’s leading retail destinations for free, but providing them with the support they need to fully realise its potential.
“This in turn, will bring exciting new businesses into shopping centres, where a dynamic mix of businesses is essential to attract shoppers.”
Mark Bourgeois, UK and Ireland managing director at Hammerson, said: “One of the great opportunities for start-up retail businesses is to find space in the right location at the heart of a busy city or town centre community.
“We are excited to be working with Revo on this campaign which will not only help start-up businesses make the crucial next step, it will also introduce new, dynamic retail concepts into our shopping destinations.”