WOULD-BE entrepreneurs are being given the opportunity to make their ideas a reality.

New businesses are being offered up to six months of rent-free retail space at The Emporium in Middlesbrough.

As part of a council initiative to help encourage new businesses in the town, anyone accepted to host their business at the town centre venue will also be offered individual professional or business development support, a branding and PR package and support to help find suitable premises later down the line.

Free financial advice and mentoring will also be available to successful applicants.

Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for regeneration and economic development, said: “We know The Emporium works because the businesses who have already been through the process have told us what a difference it made.

“New businesses need a lot of help in these tough economic times, but The Emporium has shown that with the right support and incentives, they can get off the ground and thrive.”

Interested retailers will be required to complete an application form, present a business plan or proposal and supply two references.

For more information, contact business development officer Julie Marsden on 01642-729007.