Empty shops in Harrow are being opened up for free to budding local entrepreneurs under a scheme launched by Harrow Council.
The project, ‘Start Here’ aims to help new businesses hit the ground running, reducing the costs of buying commercial retail property.
The first business, Radiate, moved into the shop at 1 The Bridge, Wealdstone, last week.
From this underused prime retail space opposite Harrow and Wealdstone Station they will sell handmade products and hold workshops were people can create unique T-shirts, clocks, jewellery and bags.
Radiate were chosen to be the first business following a series of workshops where they pitched their idea to industry leaders.
Four more business are lined-up to move into the premises up to March, including Harrow Council’s Business Den competition winner Donna Banfield from ‘A slice of nice’.
The scheme will run until April 2017 across a total of four sites across the borough, with each business able to use the sites for up to 4 weeks at no cost.
Councillor Keith Ferry, portfolio holder for business at Harrow Council said: “Starting a business can be a daunting experience, but we want to make it as easy as possible. Small businesses are the life of any community and as a council we are determined to give them as much support as we can.
“This project brings a new lease of life to unoccupied shop spaces and gives entrepreneurs the chance to try out their business in a supportive environment.
“Over the next 15 months the project will create and help the growth of around 50 new small businesses and community projects. It will also create new jobs for local people.”
The Start Here scheme is open to anyone with an idea or start up business and Harrow Council are urging anyone to pitch their idea.
Budding entrepreneurs are invited to attend an Idea Building Session where they can discuss their business. Following this they will be given the opportunity to submit a short business proposal and then they will be offered one-to-one mentoring. Potential viable businesses will then be invited to pitch their idea to a panel who will decide if they are provided with space.
If you are interested in the signing up for the next programme, visit the start the project website.