Stockton Council wants to hear from you.
The Stockton Enterprise Arcade will provide retail opportunities to incubate new businesses for up to six months. Based in the former Burton's store at 147 High Street, it could be open before Christmas - weather permitting
"It's a great idea to give a 'jump start' to people who want to turn their retailing dream into reality, with a relatively low risk" said Councillor Bob Cook, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport. "It not only offers six months' free shop space, a full package of support is also included.
"It's a really exiting and low-cost opportunity for new retailers to test trade their ideas, right in Stockton town centre. We'll consider more or less any type of business, provided it involves retailing.
"We are initially looking for five new businesses which are ready to move into the unit as soon as possible. But it's first come, first served, so the sooner they get in touch, the better.
"They will just need to buy their own stock and take out their own insurance. We will fit out the unit and look after branding to attract customers.
"Because this is a short-term project, we are only looking for new businesses which have not yet started trading. The shop will have space for around five of these enterprises.
"Obviously, we hope that as many as possible of the businesses involved move on to greater things once the project ends."
Although the shop will close after six months, the Council will help businesses based there to identify suitable premises to trade once their incubation period is over.
As well as space in the shop, each business will also receive individual business coaching to help its development and growth, tailored to its own particular needs.
Stockton and Hartlepool Councils have worked together to access the funding for the project.
Stockton was recently named as the most enterprising place in the North East, as regional winner in the national Enterprising Britain competition.
The Royal Mail's Business Barometer also named Stockton as one of the country's three fastest growing places for new business start-ups.
To apply for a place at the Stockton Enterprise Arcade, or to find out more about it, contact Mike Bowron at Stockton Council on (01642) 526028 or email [email protected]