Entrepreneurs and artists are being offered £10,000 to take on an empty shop in Sheffield.
Re:New aims to bring ‘many more’ vacant buildings back into use, giving the city centre a much needed boost.
As well as grants, new occupiers will be mentored by experts to help their new business be a success.
A Re:New launch event is being held at Theatre Delicatessen, formerly Woolworths, on The Moor at 5.30pm tomorrow, Thursday July 30.
The scheme is based on an Australian model that was a success in Newcastle, New South Wales. It was led by writer Marcus Westbury who was invited to Sheffield to share his knowledge last year.
Re:New is being run by Sheffield City Council and the University of Sheffield.
Prof Vanessa Toulmin, from the University of Sheffield, who is chair of Re:New and director of city cultural engagement, said: “The project will not only transform and bring vibrancy to buildings in the city which otherwise would have stood empty or even derelict, it will give start-up businesses a chance to flourish and hopefully increase footfall to the city, in turn boosting the local economy.”
“We were truly inspired by Marcus during his visit to the city last year and I am delighted that by working with our partners in the city, we have come together to launch Re:New.”
Martin Keyworth of Truth or Dare was an example of the scheme in action, she added. He took a vacant unit in Charles Street which was previously Quicksilver Arcade and transformed it into a barbers and tattoo parlour selling designer T-shirts.
Mentors will include experts from the council, Sheffield University, local landowners, developers and agents and independent retailers.
Coun Leigh Bramall, the council’s cabinet member for business, skills and development said Re:New would allow concepts to be tested which would lead to those businesses becoming established elsewhere in the city centre.
He added: “We have recognised the importance of supporting ‘meanwhile’ uses for several years now, but we want to take this concept to the next level with a more organised scheme developed with city partners.
“Re:New is the result, giving new, independent businesses the opportunity to test their ideas, whilst at the same time enlivening the city’s streets by adding variety, colour and new life to our city centre.
“I would certainly urge anyone interested in starting up a small business to come along on July 30 to have a chat or check out the new website to get more details about the support now available. We have checked the main obstacles for users and independent retailers and we will be aiming to minimise the issues restricting them.”
Up to £10,000 is available from the city council’s Keep Sheffield Working Fund, Sheffield University and the European Regional Development Fund. www.Re:Newsheffield.co.uk