23 May 2013

Drive to fill empty shops with pop-up businesses

A new type of ‘estate agency’ is now operating in Brighton & Hove, aimed at getting pop-up businesses and other activities to fill empty shops and offices.

The city council has selected an organisation called We Are Pop Up.  to run the project, following a tendering process.  It aims to put people with empty shops in touch with emerging digital and creative sector organisations, freelancers and undergraduate and postgraduate students, who need space.

Details are on a new website launched to advise and champion Brighton & Hove’s arts and creative industries sector.  The city’s Arts and Creative Industries Commission site at http://www.acicommission.org.uk/ aims to boost a sector already responsible for around 16,000 jobs in the city – over 10 per cent of the workforce.

As well as the pop-up initiative, ReCreate, a European-funded 16-partner project has enabled the council to fund refurbishment of a previously-empty 3,500 sq ft unit in New England House, near Brighton Station. This space has been transformed into an arts and creative industries innovation hub, ‘The FuseBox’. The council’s Economic Development team and Wired Sussex are working together to ensure that this workspace provides opportunities for new business ideas from emerging arts and creative industry organisations, freelancers and university students to flourish.  It includes a programme of learning and support

The city council and Wired Sussex won £650,000 of EU money for the two-and-a-half year ReCreate project.

Chair of the council’s economic development and culture committee Cllr Geoffrey Bowden – also on the Commission – said:  “The new website will be useful for communicating this type of advice. Finding affordable premises for our small creative companies is a pressing need hence the pop-up initiative and establishing The FuseBox.  Pop-ups can be for a few days or weeks and they can suit anyone from chefs to artists or retailers.  They can perhaps be used to test ideas or hold promotional events.  We have the space and we have the ideas.  Let’s bring them together with the minimum fuss.”

More information about The FuseBox is on http://thefusebox.tumblr.com/

ReCreate is an EU Interreg 4a cross-border collaborative programme between the UK and France.

Contacts:

To offer or find pop-up premises: andy.glover@brighton-hove.gov.uk  Abigail@wearepopup.com 

Arts and Creative Industries Commission website content: branwen.lorigan@brighton-hove.gov.ukand tricia.winter@brighton-hove.gov.uk