An exciting new opportunity for local entrepreneurs goes live today, with the launch of the RE:IMAGINE Pop Up Shop initiative, which will be delivered by The Fashion & Textile Design Centre (FTDC) in Derry and BID in Strabane. The initiative is part of the new Start Up Accelerator Programme being delivered by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Enterprise NW and Strabane Enterprise Agency, who have secured £240,000 to assist individuals who have participated in the Go For It Programme, to take their business ideas further and develop their business skills. The programme is funded by the UK Government through the Community Renewal Fund, which aims to support people and communities by investing in skills, local business and supporting people into employment. Applications are now open, and local entrepreneurs will be in with the chance of pitching their products to secure one of six places to trade their merchandise in two top retail locations in Derry’s Foylside and the Pagoda, Strabane. The Pop Up Shops will run until June, with five spots available in Derry and one in Strabane. The wider package of support also includes bespoke mentoring, promotional marketing campaigns and technical assistance. 

  Speaking ahead of the launch, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, welcomed the support for local businesses. “This is a fantastic opportunity and one that will appeal to many of our budding local entrepreneurs. It has been a period of unprecedented challenge for commercial businesses, and the package of practical support on offer through the Pop Up Shop Initiative will make a huge difference to any new enterprise trying to get off the ground.”There is a wealth of entrepreneurial talent here in Derry and Strabane and this is a great incentive to showcase some of the creative new product lines that are being developed locally.” Deirdre Williams, Business and Development Manager from the Inner City Trust’s Fashion and Textile Design Centre, will be bringing her creative expertise to the scheme, and said it would enhance the commercial potential of local brands. “There is a strong creative community here in Derry and this initiative will open up opportunities for designers and creatives to tap into new networks and establish a strong customer base. It’s also a great opportunity to utilise our city centre retail space, opening it up to local entrepreneurs and rejuvenating our high streets, putting our local businesses front and centre.”I’m looking forward to working with these new businesses to help them make the most of the commercial opportunities on offer through the new Pop Up shops, and bringing their brand and ideas to new audiences.” In Strabane the initiative will be led by the BID, and Chair, Kieran Kennedy, said today that he looked forward to working with the successful candidates. “We are proud of the progressive business network here in Strabane and the successful candidate in this initiative will have the opportunity to become part of this network at an early stage in their business journey.”We appreciate the many challenges faced by fledgling entrepreneurs but the expertise will be on offer through mentoring and one to one support to help progress their plans and become established as a successful and recognised brand. It’s a fantastic opportunity, and it will be great to welcome a new business to Strabane town centre.” 

The scheme is open to anyone who is self-employed, working in fashion, textile, homeware and lifestyle and operating within the Council area. Applications must be submitted by Thursday January 6th and participants must be available to pitch on Thursday February 3rd 2022, with the shops launching at the beginning of March. Applicants must also have completed the ‘Go For It Programme’ with Strabane Enterprise Agency or Enterprise NW within the last six months, or be willing to go through the Go For It Programme.To find out more about how you can apply for the RE:IMAGINE Pop Up Shop Initiative, and more about the Start Up Acceleration Programme go to https://www.derrystrabane.com/Business/Business-Support/RE-IMAGINE-Pop-Up-Shop-Opportunity

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