Shopping centres launch Dragons’ Den-style comp to boost indie retailers

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Shopping Dragons' Den
// Revo launches a new competition to find budding entrepreneurs in retail
// Winners will be given free space in shopping centre and help with marketing their concept
// Initiative backed by Westfield, Hammerson, Landsec & British Independent Retailers Association

An organisation that represents major retail property giants has launched a Dragons’ Den-style scheme to find a new generation of talent to breathe new life into shopping centres.

Hatch, by Revo, comprises of a competition that offers free space and expert marketing advice in their retail places to up-and-coming businesses.

Revo said there are no restrictions on what type of businesses can enter Hatch.

Online-only outlets looking to experiment with a physical presence are also able to apply.

Entrants will come before judges in May, in a similar style to the popular BBC programme, and the winners are announced that month.

Hatch is backed by some of the biggest names in retail property, including Landsec, Hammerson, Westfield, M&G Real Estate, Harcourt and Ellandi, along with the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).

The competition was launched on the back of gloomy headlines on the UK retail industry in recent months.

Revo said the pop-up retail market was worth at least £2.3 billion while major retailers, including online giants like Amazon, are opening pop-ups of their own.

Revo warned that urgent action was needed from governments at both a local and national levels, such as reforming business rates to level the playing field between online and bricks-and-mortar retailers as well as additional help for the high street, to help the industry weather the challenges its faces.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and a source of great creativity and innovation,” Revo head of campaigns Samantha Sen said.

“We believe that the retail success stories of tomorrow will come from today’s pop-up shops, kiosks, and etailers as dozens of brands and chains we now know and love have proven.”

She added: “However, Hatch is about more than just identifying the next wave of entrepreneurs and talent who will shape – it is a demonstration of the industry’s commitment to invest in the communities we are embedded in.

“Yet there is only so much the industry itself can do, we need to see urgent action from government at all levels to reduce the burden on retailers and revitalise our high streets.”

Revo said winners of Hatch will benefit from free rent, with business rates and service charges covered too.

They will also receive professional marketing and business support to help promote their concept and a free one-year Bira membership, which includes a retail insurance scheme, card processing, free legal advice and preferential banking rates.

Current locations where Hatch will take place includes Westfield Stratford City in London, St David’s Dewi Sant in Cardiff, Silverburn in Glasgow, The Galleries in Tyne & Wear, Parkway Shopping Centre in Limerick, Republic of Ireland and Bloomfields in County Down, Northern Ireland.

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