Retailers can win a £10,000 package

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Budding retail businesses in the Ribble Valley are being given the opportunity to take their plans to the next level with a £10,000 prize package.

The Mall, Blackburn, is offering two month’s rent-free space, a lap-top and tailored business mentoring sessions from the National Skills Academy to the winner of its annual business competition, The Retail Factor.

Launched on Monday, the competition is focussed around supporting and nurturing retail start-ups in the local community.

Entrants can submit ideas until Sunday, February 20th, and management at The Mall will select a shortlist of entries to trial their businesses at an RMU (Retail Merchandising Unit) in The Mall for a period of two weeks.

The judges will look at how innovative each business had been as well as taking into account trading results to select an overall winner, who will be presented with the £10,000 package.The successful entrepreneur will also be in with a chance of winning the national prize of a place on the exclusive retail business course BHF-BSSA Oxford Summer School.

Last year’s Retail Factor winner, Stems Floral Design is owned by the Fisher family, parents Wendy and Graham and siblings Helen and David, who certainly think it is worth entering the competition.

The family run business has continued to trade at The Mall since the end of its initial two month free rent period.

Helen said: “When I saw details of the competition advertised in The Mall Blackburn last year we were confident that our products and creativity could bring something new to the centre.

“Our business at Huntley’s of Samlesbury was very well established and we were ready to take our expansion plans to the next level.

“We did a roaring trade right from the start and the feedback from the public and local businesses was excellent.”

Entries to The Retail Factor can be made online at factor or by completing a form available at The Mall Blackburn’s Ask Me Point.