Croydon is being urged to be the trailblazer for an innovative campaign to give entrepreneurs the chance to operate in a retail environment.
PopUp Britain is currently being trialled in Richmond but Emma Jones MBE revealed at this week’s Develop Croydon Conference that the two-page lease agreement provides a legal safeguard for the scheme was drawn up in Croydon on the same day as Mary Portas visited the town.
Emma, a co-founder of StartUp Britain, said: “It would be fantastic if the first pop-up shop could be launched in Croydon.
“The entrepreneurial spirit in Croydon is fantastic but I think the challenge for any location is how you encourage those businesses which grow.”
The scheme operates by using empty premises, creating a win-win situation where a landlord receives an income he would otherwise get and small businesses get a unique opportunity to showcase their services or products to new markets.
“We began trialling a shop in Richmond in August at which six businesses come in a trade for two weeks,” said Emma.
“Each pays £135 to trade for a for a fortnight, we crowd-fund the rent and all of the small business have said the experience of getting out, meeting customers and testing markets has been great for them.
“It is very good for the business, it is good for the landlord whose insurance rate is reduced because the premises is occupied and it is also good for the high street because it brings something a bit different.”
Emma believes small business hold the key to future prosperity in Croydon and elsewhere.
“A big part of creating self-employment and creating small business hot sports is about the power of the individuals in an area,” she said.
“Saif Bonar at Matthew’s Yard has shown the kind thing that can be achieved at Matthew’s Yard. So much is about the individuals saying let’s get together to make things happen.
“Can small business replace the job losses from big companies? Absolutely.”