Budding business entrepreneurs are being invited to bid for a slice of £75,000 of funding in a Dragons’ Den-style competition.
Money from Preston City Council’s allocation of the High Street Innovation Fund has been given to the Preston Business Improvement District to manage a new business competition for the city centre.
The top 10 business proposals will be put to a public vote in April, before a Dragons’ Den style panel convenes to decide on the final five lucky recipients.Babs Murphy - North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
Grants being made available amount to £10,000 per new business.
It also brings a £3,000 contribution to business rates in the business’ first year of trading.
A further £10,000 of in-kind contribution will be made to assist with business support services such as marketing and public relations.
The Guild Merchants of the Future competition aims to fund five new independent retailing businesses which can best demonstrate innovative ideas and sustainability which will bring five empty shops back into use.
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, the organisation behind Preston BID, said: “I am sure there are lots of budding entrepreneurs out there who have fantastic business ideas who need a financial helping hand and would love to start their own retail business in the centre of Preston.
“The top 10 business proposals will be put to a public vote in April, before a Dragons’ Den style panel convenes to decide on the final five lucky recipients.”
To bid for the money, people can fill in and return the online application forms via www.bidpreston.co.uk/GuildMerchant.
Online applications open today.
“Dragons” on the juding panel will include Norman Tenray, president of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce; leader of Preston City Council Peter Rankin; UCLan’s Andy Coverdale; Lancashire Evening Post editor Gillian Parkinson and a local banking manager.