Taking your business to the next level: 7 ways a retail space can help your start-up grow

Hatch competition for Midland-based entrepreneurs run by Derbion shopping centre in Derby

This is the third year Derbion has run the Hatch competition offering Midlands-based entrepreneurs the chance to open a store in the centre rent-free for six weeks. - Credit: Shaun Fellows / SHINE PIX LTD

A unique competition is offering entrepreneurs a life-changing opportunity to expand their brand and reach a whole new market of customers.

The Hatch competition, run by Derby's leading shopping and leisure venue, Derbion, is providing Midlands-based entrepreneurs and small business owners the chance to open a store within the centre for six weeks, completely rent-free.

“This is the third time we’ve run the competition, and it’s an amazing opportunity for online start-ups, small business owners and skilled artisans to make a name for themselves, reach an even larger audience and share their products and services with the people of Derby,” says Adam Tamsett, general manager at Derbion.

Below, he reveals how opening a retail space can benefit your business and explains everything you need to know to apply.

1. Footfall to your business will increase

Copyright 2021 © Sam Bagnall

Adam Tamsett, general manager at Derbion reveals how the Hatch competition can help local business owners take the next step. - Credit: Sam Bagnall

Millions of people shop at Derbion every year, and opening a store within the centre will place you in the heart of the activity. As we’re close to the Peak District, we draw in thousands of tourists all year-round. Your business will be opened to a whole new market almost instantly, without needing to invest lots of time and money into a marketing plan.

As well as having retail space, the winner will also receive marketing support from Derbion to further build awareness of their business, which includes social media support.

2. A risk-free way to expand your start-up

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It’s no easy feat trying to grow your business by moving to a commercial premises, and often the cost of utilities alone prevents people from taking that next step. The winner of the Hatch competition will receive a rent-free retail space for six weeks, with all utility costs covered and no service fees. It’s a brilliant way to trial owning a store and see if you’re ready to make a permanent move to a shop.

3. New products and discounts can be launched effortlessly

As you will have a prime commercial space, this is the perfect time to launch your new collection of products and ensure they will be seen. You can introduce discounts and vouchers to attract new customers and transform them into long-term users.

It's hard to shift new products online as there’s so much competition, but owning a store will allow you to build your brand’s identity and enable people to discover what you have to offer.

4. Discover top tips from other successful business owners

Launching a start-up can be daunting, but with a shop within Derbion, you’ll be joining an active community of successful business owners that will be there to offer support and guidance. You’ll gain invaluable insight and it’s also a great chance to network and meet others you may partner with in the future. Our expert team will be on hand throughout every stage of the process to make your store a success.

Derbion shopping centre Hatch competition 2022

Millions of people visit Derbion every year. Having a space inside the shopping centre is the ideal way to raise brand awareness for your business. - Credit: Shaun Fellows / SHINE PIX LTD

5. Make your mark on your very own store

The retail space you’ll be given is what’s known as a ‘white-box commercial space’ meaning it will be fully operational and all essentials will be taken care of, but you’ll have a blank canvas to decorate and set up in whatever way you want. You’ll be able to input your brand identity into the space, giving customers a sense of what your business is about.

6. Keep the retail space for longer than six weeks

The winner of the competition will receive the retail space rent-free for six weeks, but that doesn’t mean that afterwards, you’ll need to leave. If you find having a retail space at Derbion suits you, there’s an option for you to stay. The initial rental period will begin during summer, but you could decide to remain open and benefit from trading at peak times like half-term and Christmas.

Design 44, winner of the Hatch competition in 2019, is still open at the centre because of its popularity with shoppers. Jade Devall, owner of the brand, recommends other Midland-based entrepreneurs that are considering applying to ‘just go for it’ as the initiative has enabled her to ‘build on her existing brand and go from strength to strength since opening its doors.’

7. Enhance shoppers’ experience and encourage more people to visit Derby

By bringing your ideas to Derbion you’ll be adding to the range of retail, leisure and dining facilities we’re able to provide, as well as helping to celebrate local businesses and boosting our economy. We’re always delighted to welcome new businesses, and hear your thoughts on new and innovative ways we can heighten shoppers’ experience and encourage more people to visit Derbyshire to sample what the region offers.

How can you apply for the Hatch Initiative?

You have until Thursday, March 31, 2022, to submit your application. Any Midlands-based business owner can enter using the online form. Following a pitch process, a winner will be chosen and announced in May. The store will open later in the year.

Visit derbion.com/hatch-competition to find out more or to apply.