START-UP and independent businesses could win a free space in the Market Place Shopping Centre, as part of a £300,000 national initiative.

Free Space+ has been launched by Revo, the retail property and place-making organisation, in partnership with nine of the largest UK retail landlords.

Businesses can now apply for free space in up to 100 shopping centres in the UK, including the Market Place.

Applicants to Free Space+ will be asked to identify their preferred shopping centre, and demonstrate how trading from that location will accelerate their growth. Judging panels will select nine winners in January 2018, which will then be able to occupy space in their chosen shopping centre for three months.

Ed Cooke, chief executive of Revo, said: “We are proud to bring together the UK’s leading retail landlords to create a national platform that that will help start-up businesses access the space they need to thrive and grow.

“Physical retail space is not only a point of sale, it is integral to building a retail brand and driving website traffic. Free Space+ is the first business incubation initiative of its kind, not only allowing businesses to trade from some of the UK’s leading retail destinations for free, but providing them with the support they need to fully realise its potential.

“This in turn, will bring exciting new businesses into retail places, where a dynamic mix of businesses is essential to attract shoppers.”

The winners will also be teamed up with mentors relevant to their particular businesses.

Free Space+ launches at 5.30pm on 20 September. To enter, go to revocommunity/freespace