Shop space for small businesses launches in Ilford

The Spark Lab is located in High Road, Ilford

The Spark Lab is located in High Road, Ilford - Credit: Redbridge Council

A new shop space for business owners and entrepreneurs has opened in Ilford town centre.

The Spark Lab will host seven small businesses on a six-week rotation, which will be picked by local stakeholders and a panel of young people.

All the businesses using the space will receive specialist advice on how best to grow their business.

Based in High Road, The Spark Lab is supported by the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund and forms part of Redbridge Council’s plans to rejuvenate the town centre and create a cultural quarter in Ilford.

The Pop-Up Club, which sells gifts such as prints, artwork designs and handcrafted gems and jewellery, is the first business to take up residency.

Tillie Peel, its owner and founder, said her business is aligned in its values with The Spark Lab.

“We open empty spaces and give them to local businesses and the local community and try to showcase people's work”, she explained.

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Tillie said The Spark Lab is “exactly the kind of thing we want to be part of”, and encouraged people to go out and support it “as times are tough for small businesses at the moment and they really need all the help that they can get”.

She added: “To be situated on Ilford High Street in a new space alongside so many brilliant retailers and traders, with the chance to be welcomed by residents and local shoppers, has been so exciting for us.

"It’s a good feeling to know we’re doing our bit, generating income for the local economy and the small business economy as a whole."

Leader of the council, Cllr Jas Athwal, said: “The Spark Lab provides an incredible opportunity for budding local entrepreneurs to showcase and grow their businesses in the heart of Ilford.

"In Redbridge, we are lucky to have a wealth of creative entrepreneurs. We want to work with them to develop their talent, support local businesses and provide a unique shopping experience in our town centre.”