Four new Preston city centre businesses are to receive financial support and guidance worth £26,250 after winning the Preston Business Improvement District Guild Merchants of the Future competition.
Run alongside Preston City Council and the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, the competition saw the public vote on which of the finalists should receive vital support.
The calibre of entrants to this competition was very strong and the judges found it very difficult to pick their winners.John Boydell
The contest was funded through the city council’s allocation from the Government’s High Street Innovation Fund.
The winners were The Striped Pig Pulled Meat Bar and Coffee Shop; Ham and Jam Independent Coffee Shop; board game café Dice and Donuts; and interior design company Inside Studio.
After more than 3,500 votes were cast, the finalists were then quizzed by a panel of judges including leader of Preston City Council Peter Rankin, Chamber president Norman Tenray, University of Central Lancashire’s Andy Coverdale, Stephen Ford from the Royal Bank of Scotland and Chamber chief executive Babs Murphy.
BID chairman John Boydell said: “The calibre of entrants to this competition was very strong and the judges found it very difficult to pick their winners.
“There was a great response from the public who really got behind this competition and cast their votes for their favourite business.
“The level of support for each business showed just how well they had engaged with the public and helped the judges to decide which of the finalists had really captured people’s imaginations.”
Coun Rankin said: “It is a real pleasure to see these fledgling businesses moving forward now as a result of this competition.
“ Preston city centre has a wonderful mixture of small independent businesses and national chains making our high street a great place for people to come and shop, dine and be entertained.
Each of the businesses will receive a £10,000 grant, plus a £3,000 contribution to their business rates during the first year of trading and a £3,250 contribution in year two.
A further £10,000 of in-kind contributions will be made to assist with business support services