Aspiring retailers are being given the chance to try out their ideas to become the next big thing on the high street without the risks.
A prominent high street store in Gateshead has been converted, to help people looking to start their own shops take their first steps without huge costs.
The Hive, on Gateshead High Street, is now on the hunt for its first budding retailers looking to fill the shelves for the first time.
The empty shop has been transformed into a space that will allow several new retailers to showcase their goods in a high footfall location.
Tenants are being offered terms at a cost of just £50 a week including all bills plus free coaching and support, from local retail expert Dave Crompton.
Mr Crompton, who is managing the project, said: “Taking the first steps into trading on the high street are normally pretty daunting ones.
“Many people have tried online selling or even stalls, but normally the costs and risks involved in trying it out in a prominent town centre location are high.
“That’s where The Hive comes in. It gives anyone with a great retail idea the chance to see how it will work with almost all of the risk taken out.
“Similar schemes have been really successful in other parts of the North East with many tenants moving on to their own store.
“We thought it was about time to give the same opportunity to some of the great ideas we know are in Gateshead, Newcastle and the surrounding area.”
The Hive’s first tenants are expected to move in this autumn and the search is now on for ideas and aspiring retailers.
Applications are being taken online at www.gateshead.gov.uk/the-hive