Empty shops in Harrow are being opened up for free, to budding local entrepreneurs, under the Start Here scheme.The project has been created to help remove the cost barrier when starting a business, to make it easier for new and emerging businesses in Harrow to grow and develop.
The first business – ‘Radiate’ – has already moved into the shop at 1 The Bridge, Wealdstone, an underused retail space opposite Harrow and Wealdstone Station. They will sell handmade products and hold workshops were people can create unique t-shirts, clocks, jewellery, bags and much more. Radiate were chosen to be the first business following a series of workshops.
Four more business are lined-up to move into the premises up to March, including Harrow Council’s Business Den competition winner Donna Banfield with her novelty and wedding cake business ‘A Slice Of Nice’.
The Start Here project is run in partnership with Meanwhile Space and offers opportunities to new and emerging local businesses to test their business in a real commercial environment. The scheme will run until April 2017 across a total of four sites in the borough. Each business will initially be able to use the sites for up to four weeks at no cost.
Councillor Keith Ferry, deputy leader and portfolio holder for business 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 fifteen months the council hopes the project will create and help the growth of around 50 new small businesses and community projects.
The Start Here scheme is open to anyone with an idea or start up business. It is an opportunity for businesses to establish whether there is a demand for their product, experiment with a new product or concept.