StartUp Britain, a campaign which seeks to inspire entrepreneurship among small businesses, has announced a new scheme in partnership with department store John Lewis.
The PitchUp campaign will offer candidates the opportunity to have their products stocked within the department stores once they have submitted a “well-developed product concept”.
A shortlist of the most promising applicants will present products directly to John Lewis buyers, pitching their ideas in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch.
Successful applicants will then collaborate with buyers in a mentoring scheme allowing the product or service they are offering to be refined prior to roll-out.
StartUp Britain co-founder Emma Jones said: “Getting a foot through the door of a major high street retailer is what dreams are made of for small businesses.
“We’re delighted that John Lewis has joined us to offer talented British businesses a unique opportunity.
“This is a really great example of what can happen when big helps small – and it’s just what British start-ups need.”
Earlier this summer, StartUp Britain unveiled a pop-up shop in Richmond which saw a redundant store space refurbished to house six retailer for a fortnightly period each and the campaign is expected to be extended across the UK aiming to rejuvenate fledgling high streets.
John Lewis works to promote and support British businesses through a number of initiatives including through its ownership of Lancashire-based factory Herbert Parkinson, while it also identifies UK-made items using a new ‘Made in UK’ label.
“The StartUp Britain scheme is really exciting on a number of levels and we are proud to be part of PitchUp, which actively supports British business,” Anna Rigby, Head of Buying, Home Accessories & Gifts commented.
“Through PitchUp we’ll be looking for new products and services from emerging British-based talent that will delight our customers.
“We are particularly keen to find new products that offer innovation, function and unique design combined with a commercial edge and we look forward to working with a range of talented businesses and playing our part in helping to nurture Britain’s future retailing talent.”
Applications close on September 17th 2012 and interested businesses can apply online to be included in the pitch on October 23rd.