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Innovate Local project offers start-ups alternative avenue to reach customers with dedicated stall at Hadleigh market

A new innovation project is offering business start-ups an alternative avenue to reach new audiences following the end of the Covid-19 lockdown, with the launch of a dedicated market stall next month.

Businesses have been invited to make use of a free pitch to showcase their products for a set period at the regular Hadleigh market as part of Innovate Local, a pilot scheme set up by Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils.

Run in partnership with Suffolk Market Events, the scheme will provide support and guidance on how to operate a successful market stall, as well as general business advice and training opportunities.

Justine Paul of Suffolk Market Events (49625514)
Justine Paul of Suffolk Market Events (49625514)

Suffolk Style has been announced as the first business to participate in the pilot, showcasing its range of Fairtrade, handmade and recycled goods for homes and gardens from August 6.

Justine Paul, director of Suffolk Market Events, which manages Hadleigh market, said: “I am very excited by the opportunity that the Innovate Local initiative is bringing to new businesses.

“It can be overwhelming taking your first steps on a market, and this programme will provide businesses with the support and guidance to get them off the ground.”

The pilot scheme, which runs until December 2021, is open to businesses that have been operating for less than a year and do not currently have a place on a market.

Michael Holt, cabinet member for economic growth at Babergh District Council, said: “Hadleigh market is a popular shopping destination and a great place to showcase new businesses.

“Innovate Local provides a fantastic opportunity for new businesses to explore new opportunities with the support and advice to take their enterprise to the next level.”

Separately, a pop-up innovation hub will also be established at the Borehamgate precinct in Sudbury later this year, under the same scheme.

Delivered in conjunction with Innovation Labs, the hub will offer small business owners and entrepreneurs access to a working space and a mentoring programme with targeted advice on how to grow.

Innovate Local is being funded by the Suffolk Inclusive Growth Investment Fund and is intended to complement other initiatives, such as the virtual high street platform, which supports businesses in Sudbury and Hadleigh by offering one single place to shop.

To find out about getting involved in the scheme, click here.