Wolverhampton will soon welcome 4 new exciting businesses after budding entrepreneurs won a competition to help them achieve their ambitions.

The Idea2Reality competition, a key part of Wolverhampton's Portas Pilot scheme, attracted dozens of strong entries from talented people wishing to start firms in the city centre.

They were battling for a prize worth a total of £50,000 of business support, including being awarded a six-month rent and rate free shop and a contribution to business rates.

And, after a thorough judging and shortlisting process, the 4 winners have been announced from a final list of 11.

Oscar Campbell will open The Fish Store at new premises in Worcester Street while Lee Savory will be opening Corpse Clothing in the Mander Centre.

The other 2 winners are currently in discussion to establish where they will be based. Richard Brown, will open Hungry Bistro while Karolina Cumming will open Kabanos which is a Polish Delicatessen.

The remaining 7 finalists have been offered a £300 grant offer for business support while some of them will be given the chance to display their goods and ideas at a city centre showcase shop.

All 11 finalists have been offered three days of intenstive retail training delivered by the Skillsmart Retail Acadamy.

Fishmonger Oscar Campbell will be offering a range of exotic fish products, including live lobsters and live eels, from around the world.

They will also be able to prepare dishes in the shop to give customers the chance to taste the various fish on offer. Evening classes will also be held there to give people the chance to learn more about the different types of species and how to prepare meals.

He said: "We are obviously very delighted to have won the Idea2Reality competition and am looking forward to having a presence in Wolverhampton. We believe there is a niche market here as Wolverhampton is a multi-cultural city and we will be able to give them a taste of home."

Lee Savory has been running Corpse Clothing as an internet only company since 2002, specialising in import only t-shirts and jewellery relating to music, film and TV.

But while he will still be offering an 'on-demand' service as he does online, Lee is looking forward to opening up a retail outlet.

He said: "People are scared to start-up businesses in the current climate but Idea2Reality is great as it has provided an excellent start for us.

"I think having an actual shop provides the human touch that an internet only company cannot provide. I also think Wolverhampton needs a shop like this as there is nothing else like this here.

"It is going to take a lot of hard work but I'm very much looking forward to it."

Idea2Reality attracted a total of 58 entries from entrepreneurs from all over the UK. This was reduced to a shortlist of 31 who attended workshops to develop their ideas into credible business plans.

This was then whittled down to 20 before the final shortlist of 11 was created.

The competition fulfils one of the primary objectives of the Wolverhampton Portas Pilot project, which is to fill empty shops in the city centre and encourage entrepreneurship.

Panel member and Mander Centre (DTZ) Director Nick said "The panel were really impressed with the level of knowledge and passion shown by the entrants. We are looking forward to helping them set their businesses up and also in providing the runner-ups with the business support that will help them make a success of their ventures.

"Entrepreneurship is something that we actively want to encourage in the city and we are really pleased that we are able to do this with this competition".

  • released: Thursday 9 May, 2013