Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID gives the opportunity for people to bring new business ideas to the City Centre with CREATE Fund
February 9, 2021
Stoke-on-Trent City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) is pleased to launch a third round of its CREATE Fund, inviting local organisations, community groups and individuals to apply for a share of £15,000 for funding for business ideas and initiatives to bring benefits to the City Centre.
We are eager to once again bring back the funding opportunity to enable the creative people of Stoke-on-Trent that have great ideas and a drive to see their city flourish, an avenue for which to make them a reality.
Previous CREATE Fund rounds have seen 10 organisations and individuals awarded with £3,000 each to bring some fantastic initiatives to our city centre including: Every Other Seat exhibition by DUST Rising that took place along Piccadilly to highlight the importance of the arts to our livelihoods; World famous artist Jimmy Cauty’s ESTATE, a chilling and immersive installation on Smithfield throughout October; and Wastelands Portraits, a celebration of diversity, creativity and green spaces through a series of dynamic portraits displayed within the old Body Shop unit, with more projects financed by the CREATE Fund to come later in 2021.
This time, due to the uncertainties that COVID-19 has brought to high streets up and down the UK, and indeed the world, with this round of funding the BID specifically would like to encourage budding entrepreneurs or community groups to start or develop their business ideas in the city centre.
We have 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 that will have a positive impact in the BID area, or to help existing businesses develop their offering and services in light of ‘the new normal’.
Anyone – be it a group, business, organisation or an individual – is eligible to apply, as long as they are UK-based and providing that that their ideas meet our criteria.
The CREATE Fund is designed for applicants who already have a strongly developed idea for a city centre business idea, but need a small amount of revenue funding to develop, test and launch their initiative.
All projects submitted must align with the BID’s strategic aims and will be assessed against these aims when the applications for funding are awarded, which are as follows:
• Increase footfall within the BID area
• Raise awareness of the City Centre’s unique offerings
• Enhance and improve the experience of those visiting the BID area
• Deliver a strong marketing offer to highlight Stoke-on-Trent City Centre’s hidden gems
• Increase the safety of those visiting the BID area
• Provide a cleaner and greener environment to attract visitors
• Reduce anti-social behaviour and crime within the BID area
• Enhance and improve the streetscape of the BID area
Sara Williams, CEO of Staffordshire Chambers and Lead Director for the BID’s Business Community Support priority is looking forward to launching the CREATE Fund for Business:
“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 the business ideas and initiatives that this fund will help deliver.
“And another bonus for successful applicants is that they can benefit from free business mentoring offered by Staffordshire Chambers in partnership with the BID, and from assistance from local solicitors and accountants to help them make the most of their new business venture.”
Joyce Iwaszko, a recipient of the BID’s CREATE Fund in 2020 has some words of encouragement to those considering applying:
“We applied for the CREATE Fund on behalf of our arts organistion DUST RISING, to launch ‘Every other Seat’, a two-day open-air pop-up art event in Piccadilly which took place in September.
“The whole application process was simple and we had support from the BID whenever we had a question. Once we found out the application was successful, funds were in our bank within days, allowing my team and I to get planning and delivering the event immediately.
The BID Ambassadors were fantastic during our exhibition and it was a pleasure to work with all the BID team.
“If you have a good idea that meets the BID’s criteria, I strongly encourage you to apply!”
Stoke-on-Trent City Centre 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 great thing about the CREATE Fund is that we’re open to a huge variety of ideas. Whether applicants have an idea for: A zero-waste mini-market; a specialised cardboard collection for city centre businesses and recycling; a space to offer meditation workshops or pottery workshops; a small store specialising in pasta or perhaps they are already a city centre business owner but needs a piece of equipment to help them develop their offering; or if you have something totally different in mind, we’re listening!”
The BID is accepting initial applications from 8 February until 14 March where stage one successful applicants will be selected and asked to prepare a business plan for submission. Business plans will be judged in June with finalists invited to present before a Final Selection Panel who will select the successful applicants.
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.
Another CREATE Fund, specifically for the purpose of bringing events and projects into the city centre, such as a music festival, an art installation, or a theatrical performance, for example, will be made available to applicants in summer of this year.