The Pitch4Redditch scheme was unveiled last Friday (September 14) at NEW College and provides a comprehensive support package for people looking to start-up a business, in return for them taking one of the empty units in the Church Green, Alcester Street or the Unicorn Hill area.
The Dragons' Den style scheme, run by Redditch Town Centre Partnership, will see hopefuls pitch to a panel of five successful entrepreneurs. The line-up includes Redditch United chairman Chris Swan, who has successfully floated three PLCs on the London Stock Market, Brenda Killigrew, founder of Inkberrow Design Centre and The Old Needle Works in Britten Street, Mujibur Rahman, owner of Rilys and Boyd Douglas-Davies, CEO of Hillview Garden Centres.
They will be joined by Mark Corfield, community business manager at Lloyds Bank.
Mr Rahman told the Standard Redditch had a lot to offer and urged those thinking about setting-up their own business not to be deterred by the current difficult financial climate.
"As well as a good business plan it is the person who is behind it and their enthusiasm that is important. When I started Rilys I had absolutely nothing and a lot of negative feedback from a lot of people who said you won't make a success of it, but I had the passion which overcome all that. Today Rilys is one of the top ten Indian restaurants in the UK and that's a huge achievement, so it's about the individuals behind the plan, that will be a key part of what I'm looking for," he said.
"When I first came to the town it had a positive outlook to it - it had a lot of competition but any kind of business will have competition - but if you have the passion and the drive to make it a success it is possible.
"My advice would be don't be shy, open up to what you want to do, there's no limit to what is achievable."
The package available includes providing one-off grants to help with rent or business rate costs, low rate loans of up to £10,000, help to fit out shop interiors, free accountancy and business mentoring as well as advice on, and the fast-tracking, of any planning application needed.
The scheme is being funded by a £100,000 grant from the Government's High Street Innovation Fund and backed by Redditch Borough Council.