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University launches ‘first of its kind’ retail incubator

Nottingham Trent University has launched what’s believed to be the UK’s first permanent university retail incubator in a city centre.

The outlet – based at Cobden Chambers in Pelham Street, Nottingham city centre – is part of a new a project by The Hive, the university’s centre for enterprise and entrepreneurship, to support its upcoming businesses.

Backed by Santander Universities, it has allowed three shops to open in which Hive businesses and Nottingham Trent University students will be able to sell their own merchandise and gain valuable experience in a supported environment.

The incubator will initially include three main Hive businesses: Cavology, a high-end lifestyle shop; Relm, which specialises in young urban fashion; and Wiseman Designs, which creates mobile phone apps.

All three businesses are expected to be at Cobden Chambers for at least a year. When one decides to leave the incubator, their space is then given to the next Hive-based retailer.

Sean Macaskill, Enterprise Adviser at The Hive, said:

“Our aim is to permanently run a retail incubator and, as far as we’re aware, this is the first permanent university retail incubator unit in a UK city centre.

“Enterprise is a subject you can learn. But entrepreneurship is something that you develop through experience and Cobden Chambers is the perfect place for our businesses to do this.

“It will give our young people the foundation to become a real success without the pressures of having to make such a big first step onto the high street on their own.

“And it’s a chance for shoppers to buy something unique from independent retailers that isn’t mass produced.

“As well as help our Hive businesses, the incubator will provide learning opportunities, experience and placements for students across the whole university.

“So we’re very proud to be opening the unit and we hope it will enable many of our young business people to really flourish.”

Luke Ellis, Relationship Director at Santander Universities, UK said:

“When we began our partnership with Nottingham Trent University one of our primary aims was to support entrepreneurs and this incubator space is a perfect example of the collaboration between the university and Santander.

“I have no doubt many great business ideas will grow thanks to this new outlet in Cobden Chambers.”

Kinga Kapias

Featured author: Kinga Kapias

Marketing Executive

Studying Japanese, fluent in Polish and Spanish, Kinga works with local academics and senior business people to help attract professional association conferences and events to Nottingham. She recently completed her Masters Degree in Applied Linguistics. Kinga enjoys travel, music and everything new media related.

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