Jul 20, 2022
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Shaftesbury launches 'Soho incubator' competition for new businesses

Jul 20, 2022

A free, three-month pop-up store in London’s Soho for this autumn/winter is up for grabs in a competition being run by Shaftesbury. The London-centric commercial property giant has launched a ‘Soho Incubator’ initiative aimed at “budding UK brands with sustainability credentials” across fashion, beauty, lifestyle and homewares.


The chosen emerging brand will receive full support from Shaftesbury and This Is Soho to set up and launch for the first time in the West End village, sitting alongside a host of independent and flagship brands such as Raeburn, Oliver Spencer, Universal Works, Bleach, and Misan Fabrics. 

Along with the pop-up space, the winners of the competition will also win £5,000 towards internal fit-out plus exclusive one-to-one business mentoring.

The unique retail opportunity sees Shaftesbury look for brands with “big dreams and great attitudes” who are ready to take the next step with a physical store.

Entrants will be judged on their sustainability credentials, strength of business, marketing plans, creativity, design excellence and consumer appeal.

The judging panel includes senior managers from Shaftesbury, plus Grazia Shopping Editor Julia Harvey and Head of Retail at Raeburn Jolyon Bexon.

Emma Steele, Shaftesbury’s Head of Retail Activations said: “Soho is home to many exciting independent and concept stores, so this initiative allows us to continue our support of UK-based brands and entrepreneurs. We are seeking creative ideas that will fit with the existing Soho retail mix. The project follows the successful Seven Dials Incubator project which saw four female entrepreneurs win pop up spaces in our Seven Dials location.”

Matt Smith, Shaftesbury Head of Sustainability added: "We are excited to be able to offer this opportunity to UK business owners and entrepreneurs. With sustainability being at the forefront of Shaftesbury's decisions, it is intriguing to see what new concepts could come to the area and align with our already conscious retail mix. This Is Soho is all about fresh and new ideas and we are looking forward to welcoming an upcoming sustainable brand to the destination."

There's an opportunity for more than one brand, depending on the quality of entrants and what are the best and most fitting brand adjacencies in Soho.

Launching on the Soho website, thisissoho.co.uk, entries will be open for a six-week period, with the winner announced in September.

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