Dragons In Preston Hit The High Street
Budding entrepreneurs from around the Preston area are being invited to bid for a piece of £75,000 of funding, in a Dragon’s Den style High Street Improvement scheme and I’m hugely honoured to be sitting as one of the five Dragons making decisions on the allocation of this fund.
The money is being made available by Preston City Council, from their allocation of the High Street Innovation Fund, to the Preston Business Improvement District (BID) to manage a new business creation competition for Preston city centre.
New businesses will be able to bid on grants of up to £10,000 together with a £3,000 contribution to business rates in the first year of trading, with in kind services being made available to help with marketing and PR.
The goal of this project is to fund five new independent retail business who can best demonstrate innovative ideas and sustainability in order to bring five empty shops back to live. I’ve worked with a wide range of businesses as a business mentor and I’m passionate about seeing new SMEs get off the ground, as I believe SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK’s economy.
I speak to many people who have new and innovative business ideas in Preston, many of whom are just waiting for the opportunity to be given a chance to realise their dream. Preston City Council’s decision to work with the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce demonstrates a lot of courage and confidence in the ability of entrepreneurial businesses to make a real contribution to the high streets of our city and I applaud the leadership they’re showing in this decision; as it’s only with courage, confidence and leadership that we’ll create an economy that grows sustainably and which builds an economy which works for everyone.
I’m tremendously excited to be part of the process and I’m confident this will have a huge impact in creating sustainable local businesses which will further enhance the local economy by providing growth and jobs on our city’s high street. This is an incredibly proactive and forward thinking initiative to rejuvenate our high street community.
Whilst utilising the experience I’ve gained from over 30 years in business, I’ll be sitting on the panel in my capacity of President of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, my fellow Dragons will be Leader of Preston City Council, Peter Rankin; UCLan’s Andy Coverdale, Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, Gillian Parkinson and a local banking manager.
If you’d like to be considered for this amazing opportunity please visit: www.bidpreston.co.uk/GuildMerchant. The top 10 proposals will be put to a public vote before we start the Dragon’s Den style interview process. You can also get involved on Twitter using the hashtag: #GuildMerchant