BUDDING business tycoons in Johnstone and Renfrew could soon be able to make use of fresh spaces created to help boost new ventures.

In November last year, Renfrewshire Council opened a base in Paisley’s George Street with charity Launch-It – previously known as the London Youth Support Trust – as part of its Start-Up Street initiative to allow fledgling firms to lease space and grow their operation.

Seven new businesses have already hired units there and half the floorspace has been taken, with tenants including clothing designers and retro sweet suppliers making use of the facility.

Now the council is looking to expand the Start-Up Street scheme into Johnstone and Renfrew by the end of this year, with the aim of creating a network of innovative and supportive spaces for a range of businesses.

Papers being presented to the council’s leadership board today state a partnership is being developed with Active Communities in Johnstone to use garage buildings behind the old police station in Quarry Street to provide four stand-alone, 24-hour accessible spaces for start-ups.

Active Communities are turning the old cop shop into a community hub that will offer event space, offices and training facilities.

And, in Renfrew, council premises have been identified in Dunlop Crescent, with preliminary work underway.

Councillor Andy Doig, who suggested the idea of extending the scheme into Johnstone at a full council meeting last September, said: “Given the grave impact of the Covid-19 crisis on traders in Johnstone town centre and the detrimental impact over the last year of the new Paton’s Mill Retail Park, the small businesses sector needs all the help it can get.”

Each unit is due to be offered to new businesses for a maximum of two years, with a rental model which increases over that time as the firm grows.
At the end of the contract period, the business would be paying the full rental value and could then move to an alternative commercial space in Renfrewshire.

The council report states: “Premises have been identified in Dunlop Crescent, Renfrew, and preliminary works have commenced there to establish suitability and to plan for a new Start-Up Street proposal.

“There was a lack of appropriate council premises in Johnstone, however, a partnership approach is being developed with Active Communities to repurpose large external garage buildings to the rear of the police station.

“Work is ongoing to look at a particular focus for each proposal.”