Work has started on a home for up-and-coming businesses in Johnstone which is set to open by the end of the year.

Garages behind the former police station in Quarry Street are being turned into four self-contained units where budding tycoons can get their ventures off the ground.

The Start-Up Street project is led by wellbeing charity Active Communities and Renfrewshire Council, with the former already transforming the old cop shop into a community hub with space for activities such as fitness and cookery classes, a cinema and even a ‘daytime nightclub.’

Council chiefs are set to provide each start-up with a unit for two years, with a rental model which increases over that time as the business grows.

At the end of that contract, the business will be paying the full rental value and could then move to an alternative commercial space in Renfrewshire.

Susan McDonald, CEO of Active Communities, said she is delighted to offer a boost to aspiring entrepreneurs.

“Our whole ethos at Active Communities is trying to get local people to be volunteers or move onto being staff within the organisation, so to be able to help up-and-coming businesses is fantastic,” she added.

“We want to get people from Johnstone to come in and a couple are already interested.

“We are still finalising the contract but things are underway and we’ve had the trees cut back around the garages in preparation.”

The council opened a Start-Up Street base in Paisley’s George Street in November last year, with tenants such as clothing designers and retro sweet suppliers now settled in.

Premises have also been identified in Renfrew’s Dunlop Crescent.

It is hoped that, by expanding the service into Johnstone and Renfrew, a network of innovative spaces for a wide range of businesses will be created.

Councillor Andy Doig, who first pitched the idea of extending the project beyond Paisley, is keen to see small enterprises blossom and compete with conglomerates.

He said: “Active Communities and I agree that we need to give new entrepreneurs every support, not just to realise their dreams but also to help build a strong business sector in the town that can compete against the big corporate interests.

“Since my election in May 2012, I have consistently argued the only way to build a more vibrant Johnstone is to get more people living and working in the town centre. I think the development of Start-Up Street is a key step in that direction.”