Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID gives the opportunity for people to bring new business ventures, events and projects to the City Centre with CREATE Fund
Due to the uncertainties that COVID-19 has brought to high streets up and down the UK, Stoke-on-Trent City Centre Business Improvement District is looking to encourage budding entrepreneurs or community groups to start or develop their business ideas in the City Centre.
Those with ideas for new businesses, creative arts projects, events, pop-up shops or workshops could have their dreams turned into reality, thanks to the BID’s CREATE Fund providing that all-important financial support to help deliver them.
The BID has set aside up to £3,000 per successful applicant in this funding round to contribute towards a selection of creative and innovative new business ideas, events or projects that will have a positive impact in the Stoke-on-Trent City Centre area.
The BID’s aim, over its 5-year term from 2018 – 2023, is to ensure that the key priority areas of focus – Place Management, which looks at improving the look and feel of the area to provide a more attractive trading environment; Place Marketing, which aims to improve the perceptions of the city centre through events and initiatives to increase footfall; and Business Community Support, which seeks to empower businesses through training and networking – are delivered, whilst representing the 436 levy-paying businesses in the BID area, spanning 75 streets.
Therefore, anyone – be it a group, organisation or an individual – is eligible to apply, as long as they are UK-based and providing that that their ideas meet some of the criteria listed below:• Increase footfall within the City Centre• Raise awareness of the City Centre’s unique offerings• Enhance and improve the experience of those visiting the City Centre• Deliver a strong marketing offer to highlight the City Centre’s hidden gems• Increase the safety of those visiting the City Centre• Provide a cleaner and greener environment to attract visitors• Reduce anti-social behaviour and crime within the City Centre• Enhance and improve the streetscape of the City Centre
The CREATE Fund is designed for applicants who already have a strongly developed idea, but need a small amount of revenue funding to develop, test and launch their initiative.
The application process opens on 1 July and closes at midnight on 22 July. Entries will then be collated and assessed on the benefits to the City Centre by a judging panel before final questions (if necessary) are relayed back to the applicant for further clarification. Recommendations will be made to members of the BID Board– including Sara Williams, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and Lead Director for the BID’s Business Community Support priority; Paul Williams, Lead Director for the BID’s Place Marketing priority; Julie Davies, County Business Crime Partnership Manager for PABCIS and Lead Director for the BID’s Place Management priority; Josef Bailey, owner of the QUARTER café and representative of independent businesses; Laura Morris, General Manager of Cineworld and representative of Entertainment Sector – to make a decision as to the successful applicants, who will be notified shortly thereafter.
Sara Williams is looking forward to supporting budding entrepreneurs through the CREATE Fund: “This new initiative is a chance for the BID to give a real helping hand to those who are keen to make a positive difference within the City Centre. Along with the rest of the BID Board, I am wholly in favour of any initiative that can be of benefit to potential entrepreneurs, and I am excited to see positive contributions made to the lives of those living, working and visiting the City Centre through new business ventures, events and projects that this fund will help deliver.”
BID Manager Richard Buxton added: “We know there’s lots of creative and passionate people out there, and often they just need a small stepping stone to allow them to transform their ideas into reality. The CREATE Fund will provide those opportunities to bring something new and exciting to the City Centre – be it a workshop, a new store or a something entirely different!”
Applications can be made by downloading the forms found on the BID’s website at: www.stokeontrentcitycentre.com/create-fund. Here, applicants will also find guidance notes and further information on how to submit an effective and successful application. Further guidance can be sought by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.