By Daniel Hunter

A pop-up shop dedicated to British retail start-ups is set to open on one Britain’s most prestigious shopping destinations today (Monday).

PopUp Britain, the retail arm of national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain is set to open a flagship store on London’s Piccadilly after agreeing a six week deal with The Crown Estate.

The initiative, which is aimed at helping to support the high street entrepreneurs of the future, will offer up to 60 retail start-ups a week-long opportunity to sell their products on one of the world’s most recognisable thoroughfares and gain valuable customer insight.

The first ten start-ups to occupy the shop on Monday all manufacture their products in the UK. Products include tweed jackets made in England with textiles produced in Nottingham mills, bone china tea cups made in Stoke-on-Trent, pewter dog bowls spun in Sheffield and handbags made from up-cycled leather in London.

“We want to put British start-ups on the map and this store in Piccadilly will be a showcase of the passion and creativity that’s out there in this country," StartUp Britain co-founder Emma Jones said.

“These small businesses represent the future of British retail and have a role to play in reviving the British economy.

“PopUp Piccadilly wouldn’t be possible without the support and wisdom of big companies like the Crown Estate, John Lewis, Intuit and Vistaprint — who have all helped us offer an amazing opportunity to fledgling businesses.”

The £100 million St James’s Gateway redevelopment is the first scheme to be delivered as part of The Crown Estate’s £500 million investment programme for the area, designed to redefine St James’s as a destination for quality shopping. It is set to welcome internationally renowned fashion brands such as Tiger of Sweden over the coming months.

“A really important element of our strategy to ensure the long term success of St James’s as a destination for quality shopping involves incubating the talent of emerging retailers," James Cooksey, head of The Crown Estate’s St James’s Portfolio said.

Pop up Britain offers short-term opportunities to start-ups and micro businesses from all over the UK. It is part of a pioneering initiative aimed at matching online retail start-ups with empty high street shops. The scheme, which is backed by private sector funding, has so far opened shops in Poulton-Le-Fylde, near Blackpool, Camberley in Surrey, Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire as well as several around London.

"The UK’s economic recovery will be driven by the success of our small and medium sized businesses but they need the tools to succeed. That's why Intuit is supporting PopUp Britain and supplying these ambitious businesses with Intuit Pay, the latest mobile payment technology, so that they never miss a sale," Mark Little, UK MD of Intuit said.

"The British high street needs an injection of creativity and PopUp Britain has found a model that benefits landlords, retailers and customers alike. This partnership with the Crown Estate is a money can't buy opportunity but we hope it will inspire even more pop up shops to appear around the country."

The scheme is also being supported by leading high street retailer John Lewis, which is supplying £5,000 worth of furniture and expertise.

Christine Kasoulis, director, brand development at John Lewis, said: “We are delighted to support the launch of PopUp Piccadilly. It is a fantastic opportunity to share our expertise and experience and help talented entrepreneurs as they build their businesses.”

Steven O'Brien, European director at PopUp Britain sponsor Vistaprint said: "We're delighted to be sponsoring PopUp Britain in what feels like a really thriving time for start-up businesses. As a leading marketing supplier for small business needs, we see huge value in being able to provide a physical retail space for people and those businesses building an online brand. We are very much looking forward to supporting the pop up in Piccadilly and are proud to be helping tenants to promote their presence on the high street."

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