Dragon’s Den style pitching event, Pop Up Shop, to showcase top new talents

Some of the north west’s finest new entrepreneurs were unveiled as the winners of the RE:IMAGINE new Pop Up Shop initiative, offering a platform to showcase the very best new products on the market.

Winners of the Pop Up Shop scheme,  Elaine Duffy, VS Mend & Make Do, Shannon Mc Cafferty, Connie Ann, Jenna Killen, Scottie Paws and Niall Lynch & Bridgene Graham, Coalesce Wearable Art pictured with the Mayor, Alderman Graham Warke, Helen Quigley, CEO Inner City Trust, Emma McGill, Strabane Town Centre development manager (BID) and Deirdre Williams, The Fashion & Textile Design Centre
Winners of the Pop Up Shop scheme, Elaine Duffy, VS Mend & Make Do, Shannon Mc Cafferty, Connie Ann, Jenna Killen, Scottie Paws and Niall Lynch & Bridgene Graham, Coalesce Wearable Art pictured with the Mayor, Alderman Graham Warke, Helen Quigley, CEO Inner City Trust, Emma McGill, Strabane Town Centre development manager (BID) and Deirdre Williams, The Fashion & Textile Design Centre

Some of the north west’s finest new entrepreneurs were unveiled as the winners of the RE:IMAGINE new Pop Up Shop initiative, offering a platform to showcase the very best new products on the market.

The six successful candidates battled it out for places in a prime retail space in Foyleside in Londonderry and the Pagoda in Strabane, following a Dragon’s Den style pitching event to sell their ideas to a panel of expert judges.

RE:IMAGINE is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council, and delivered by The Fashion & Textile Design Centre (FTDC) in Londonderry and BID in Strabane.

Winners of the Pop Up Shop initiative with Mayor of Derry and Strabane Alderman Graham Warke with Helen Quigley CEO Inner City Trust, Deirdre Williams, The Fashion & Textile Design Centre and Emma McGill, Strabane Town Centre development manager

The initiative is part of the new Start Up Accelerator Programme being rolled out by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Enterprise NW and Strabane Enterprise Agency, with £240,000 secured to assist individuals who have participated in the Go For It Programme, to take their business ideas further and develop their business skills.

The programme is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

The brands which will be showcasing their latest products are Coalesce Wearable Art, Koto Candles, VS Mend and Make Do, Oh Sew Design Co, Scottie Paws and Connie Ann.

Each enterprise will be able to show their products in a busy trading space providing a launch pad for up and coming start-ups.

The entrepreneurs were congratulated by the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Graham Warke, who met up with them to find out more about their exciting new brands.

Mayor Warke said the scheme presented a fantastic opportunity to profile new talent keen to get established in the local marketplace: “I was so impressed by some of the products and designs which I’ve seen. The Pop Up Shop space will really help to connect these top new entrepreneurs with new audiences, and raise the profile of their brand. “We have a fantastic local business community but every successful economy relies on fresh new talent to stay on top of new trends. The winners here today all demonstrate the creativity and innovation that will keep our economy driving forwards. I want to congratulate them all, and wish them every success on their business journey. I look forward to seeing them all become regular fixtures on our high street for many years to come.”

The pop up shops will run until June, with five spots in Londonderry and one in Strabane. The entrepreneurs will also avail of a comprehensive package of wider support including bespoke mentoring, promotional marketing campaigns and technical assistance.

Council’s head of business, Kevin O’Connor, said: “I am delighted to see six exciting new companies take the next step with the support of the Start Up Acceleration Programme and the Pop Up Shop Scheme.

“The local economy thankfully is beginning to turn a corner and as we look ahead to more positive times, it’s exciting to see new talent enter the market. I look forward to working with all the successful companies, and to watching their brands grow and develop over the coming months.”

Deirdre Williams, business development manager at the Inner City Trust’s Fashion & Textile Design Centre, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for up and coming entrepreneurs just setting out on their business journey.

“The costs associated with any new business can be prohibitive, so this wraparound package of support will make a major difference to all the successful candidates.

“I’m delighted at the standard of the entries, there are some extremely impressive new local brands which will add to the retail offering at both locations. I’m looking forward to working with them all and to have this opportunity to develop and profile such an exciting array of new talent.”

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