A clinic for those interested in starting their own business was held this week as part of events to mark the Retail Factor competition.

The contest, organised by the Selborne Walk Mall shopping centre in association with the Waltham Forest Guardian, aims to find the best new start-up business in the area.

On Monday representatives from The East London Small Business Centre and The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) had a stall at the centre offering advice to would-be entrants.

Stuart Emmerson, FSB Business Development Manager and Retail Factor judge, said the event was a great success.

He said: “In this challenging economic climate, we want to ensure that small businesses get the best possible chance of thriving. 

"Sometimes people find it hard to ask for advice or support, but this clinic provided the community with a valuable resource on their doorstep.

“It was enlightening to hear so many inspirational stories and there are clearly some great businesses out there, which I am sure will benefit from winning The Retail Factor.

"I very much look forward to reviewing this year’s applicants.”

The competition 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.

The deadline for those wanting to enter is February 24.

To apply to take part fill out an application online at www.themall.co.uk or pick up an entry form in The Mall Walthamstow.