AROUND 120 new businesses are clamouring to come to Gloucester after a fresh drive to attract interest in the city.
All of the interested parties are either new business start-ups or firms wanting to move other towns nearby.
They expressed their desire to move to the city during a three-day event at the Kings Walk shopping centre, where Gloucester City Council’s economic development team ran a stall in an empty shop.
Council officers are now busy following up the leads in a bid to fill many of the city centre’s empty shops.
One restaurant and cafe owner has already confirmed his intention to open in the city, but bosses remain tight-lipped on who might be behind the venture.
Two firms expressed an interest in moving into the empty unit that the event was held in, which would be a major boost for the shopping centre after it recently filled another unit with The Little Bag Company.
Jason Smith, chief executive of Marketing Gloucester, who was on hand to woo potential investors at the event, which coincided with the hugely successful Residents Weekend. He said: “A lot of people came along to Residents Weekend. We’ve not seen footfall quite like it. So we were expecting to see some interest but we were blown away that mover 100 people came along who want to open a business in Gloucester.
“They range from people who want to open a dance school to people who wanted to move their business from other areas.
“A lot of people didn’t realise that there was support from the council that they can access.”
In September 2013 the city council’s cabinet approved £100,000 of funding for a new business grants programme.
To date there have been 14 expressions of interest and eight grants agreed.
Council leader Paul James said: “We will have captured all of the details from the 120 expressions of interest and will be following that up. Some will want to access our grants, while others may just want some help and advice.
“The council’s economic development team put in a lot of hours over the weekend. Now that we have done the hard work, we want to make best use of it.”
BUSINESS GRANTS UP FOR GRABS
A total fund of £100,000 is being used this year to support new and existing businesses in Gloucester, including:
- £30,000 – evening vitality grants
- £18,000 – flexible business support grants
- £10,000 – Growing Gloucester grants for existing businesses
- £40,000 – Growing Gloucester grants for new businesses
- £2,000 – marketing support
To apply for any of the grants go to gloucester.gov.uk and complete a form or call 01452 396986.