The Waltham Forest Guardian has teamed up with the Mall shopping centre in Walthamstow in a competition to make the business dreams of budding retail entrepreneurs a reality.

The Retail Factor contest provides start-up businesses with the chance to trade for free from a Retail Merchandise Unit (RMU) stall at the Mall for two weeks.

There will be multiple spots available and at the end of the period a national winner will be picked from entrants across centres in the Mall chain.

Prizes include the chance to continue trading at a RMU with discounted charges, £500 cash for stock and a place at the Oxford Summer School Academy Course in August 2013.

Entrants are encouraged to submit an application form with their proposals. Applicants will be judged on the strength of the business idea, their consumer understanding, their sales and marketing strategy and their trading strategy. 

Alasdair Curry, General Manager of The Mall Walthamstow, said: “We are very excited to be providing local people with a stepping stone to take their business to the next level, particularly given the difficult economic climate, which has made it hard for some great businesses to get off the ground.

“Walthamstow is home to many budding entrepreneurs and we are looking forward to finding and nurturing the next retail rising star.”

Tim Jones, editor of The Waltham Forest Guardian added: “The Waltham Forest Guardian is delighted to be supporting this competition, which provides a fantastic local business opportunity.

Due to the current economy we are seeing more and more people starting up on thier own, perhaps doing something they have always dreamed of.

"The Retail Factor will help to kick-start these dreams and turn them into a reality and we look forward to seeing a wide array of entries from our talented community."

The competition is only open to people in Walthamstow.

Visit to apply online or pick up a form from the Mall.

The deadline is February 24.