Stockland launches incubator program for retail start-ups

Stockland has launched an incubator initiative it calls S Connect Starter aimed at assisting small businesses to grow and gain exposure and experience in its shopping centres.

The program provides businesses with an opportunity to partner with Stockland to overcome traditional barriers to launching retail stores by giving them access to shopping centres.

First-time retailers will get advice on operations, marketing and financing on their retail journey through a dedicated lease agreement in a Stockland centre, along with assistance and guidance provided by mentors.

Michelle Abbey, executive GM of Town Centres, said the level of interest in the Stockland incubator program to date has been ‘exceptional’.

“The program provides a safe space for businesses to trial opening in a brick and mortar environment, supporting and nurturing them along the journey,” Abbey said. “We support the small businesses with a premium presence in our retail town centres, provide the latest technology and data insights, a comprehensive retail e-learning program and a contemporary fit-out to set businesses up for success.”

Handmade body and bath maker Hot Mess Body, the first ‘starter’ retailer, opened a store at Stockland Shellharbour last month.

Earlier this year, the company’s founder Sarah-Jane Strutz decided to partner with Stockland to take her business to the next level after building an online following of more than 54,000 on Instagram and 26,000 on TikTok.

“The opportunity to expand my business into a more permanent, physical retail space and receive business and retail coaching along the way was a dream come true,” Strutz said.

Early next month, The Cacti Folk will open a store at Stockland Green Hills and Zett Sports will open a store at Stockland Merrylands mid-month.

This story first appeared on our sister publication Inside Retail