Budding entrepreneurs and owners of fledgling businesses are set to benefit from an ambitious new project which is being launched in Horsham.
Pop Up Horsham is the brainchild of author and businesswoman Daisy White who is a well-known figure in Sussex commerce and literary circles.
She is already regarded as a leading expert on pop up retailing - when a business occupies a fixed location in a High Street or other retail centre for a limited period of time - and was part of a delegation who discussed the issue at Downing Street last year.
Daisy has picked Horsham, a town close to her heart and one with a very impressive 95 per cent occupancy of retail units, because she is keen to move away from the notion that pop ups work only in towns and cities which are blighted by empty shops.
She is currently working to secure one of a number of empty town centre units.
Pop Up Horsham has two main elements: start up and stay up and begins on May 1 when a six month shop share begins at a yet-to-be-decided location in Horsham town centre. The plan is that each month seven different entrepreneurs will occupy the space with full support and mentoring with the organisers picking the best performer each month.
The final six will go on to pitch to an expert business panel and win a day trading in a secret location, plus a day with a top London visual merchandiser, courtesy of scheme partner Enterprise Nation.
To honour the stay up pledge, Pop Up Horsham is working with landlords to secure concessionary leases and contractual offers from local landlords. Daisy, who is working very closely with Horsham’s town centre manager Garry Mortimer Cook, Enterprise Nation, Paypal, EE Mobile Phones and Sussex Chamber of Commerce, is excited at the prospect of the project.
She said: “Since I launched this on social media I have been contacted by companies from abroad who are interested in taking part with remote staffing. Having seven people in the shop will be kind of like the Big Brother house. Ultimately, we want to get people into Horsham on shorter leases rather than longer leases which is not viable for many. Horsham is a pioneer as it is an affluent town so this is a case of always staying ahead.”
Mr Mortimer-Cook said it is important that local landlords support the project. He said: “I would ask what sort of landlord they want to be and whether they want to take the longer view. We have to ask what will make the High Street survive. We will need more partnerships with all parties taking the longer view.”
Emma Jones of Enterprise Nation said: “For the past couple of years, we’ve seen businesses wanting to test out the High Street, without incurring the cost of a full-time shop. This is where PopUps and Shop Shares come in and what Daisy White has seen is the importance of making this happen at a local level. The PopUp movement needs champions like Daisy to hit the streets, find shops, deal with landlords and open up trading opportunities to small business.”
BlueFlameDesign, based in Storrington and Ice Media from Littlehampton have worked with Daisy on Pop Up Horsham and said: “We are thrilled to support the new Pop Up Horsham Scheme that will enable more small business owners to grow and trade in and around Horsham.”
For further details about Pop Up Horsham contact firstname.lastname@example.org