Pop-up business hub opens in Ilford’s Exchange shopping centre

Ilford Town Centre. Despite big sales and reduced prices there is a lacklustre turn out of shoppers

Ilford Town Centre. Despite big sales and reduced prices there is a lacklustre turn out of shoppers in Ilford Town centre. Ilford Exchange Shopping centre. - Credit: Archant

Redbridge has the highest rate of start-ups of all London boroughs, according to the borough’s council leader Cllr Jas Athwal.

But it also has the greatest proportion of failures, prompting council investment in a new “pop-up business hub” in Ilford’s Exchange shopping centre.

The Enterprise Exchange, open between 10am-6pm on Tuesdays and Fridays, fills a previously empty unit in one of the borough’s largest shopping centres.

Labour’s Cllr Athwal said the hub, launched last Tuesday, had been opened to support fledgling enterprises in Redbridge.

“There’s two facts, one’s that Redbridge has the highest rate of start-ups in all the London boroughs, the second sad fact is that it also has the highest rate of failures,” he said.

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“What we’re looking to achieve here is that business do not fail because of the lack of support, and if we can get them through the first few months those businesses will much more likely survive.”

He said the hub would provide advice and support with teething problems relating to licensing, IT or recruitment - which many local small businesses encounter.

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“These are all good ideas that these entrepreneurs need to have,” he said.

“Because they’re not necessarily good business people - they just have a good idea.”

He went on: “If we can support them in these early months then these businesses will come back and support the borough with jobs, with business rates, when they achieve success.

“I think this will be welcomed [by the business community]. I think there’ll be a lot of people out there who’ll be thankful for the advice.”

Cllr Athwal could not say how much the Enterprise Hub would cost, but stressed he believed the value it would create for the borough would far outweigh it.

Redbridge Chamber of Commerce chairman Geoff Hill joined deputy council leader Cllr Wes Streeting and Jyotsna Srikanth, Europe’s leading violinist from the south Indian Carnatic classical tradition, for the launch event last Tuesday (September 30).

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