Revive & Thrive Challenge off to positive start

A competition that has brought together retail and technology experts across the UK to encourage innovation on the high street has attracted expressions of interest from almost 100 towns and cities to date.

Launched in October by professionals working in high street regeneration, business improvement district development, crowdfunding, marketing, loyalty and digital technology, the Revive & Thrive Challenge is aiming to show that private investment can deliver instant, sustainable and positive change for town and city centres and their wider communities.

More towns and cities across the UK are expected to enter the Revive & Thrive Challenge in the coming months, as they look to get their hands on a privately funded suite of solutions – worth over £150,000 – that can deliver the tools required to bring innovation to their local community.

What is Revive & Thrive?

The prize fund is on offer to the town of any individual, retailer, town centre management group, local council or other organisation which generates the best idea for connectivity and engagement in their local community. It is hoped that the competition will become a regular event and stimulate perennial innovative activity amongst local business communities.

Mark Barnes, managing director of Revive & Thrive Ltd, and the man behind the initiative, said: "Rather than creating more commentary and reporting on our high streets, we can complement the existing work that is being delivered nationwide by offering expertise, training and other goods and services that will create an instant impact locally. 

"The challenge demonstrates that private businesses are motivated to help our communities become more connected and overcome many of the barriers to change. This approach can deliver actions now that will bring about change almost immediately while the community is equipped to support itself into the future. 

"The Revive & Thrive Challenge prides itself on not being reliant on public money or resources and intends to create a template that can be recreated time and time again across the UK."

Jeremy Rucker, CEO of City Dressing, one of the businesses offering a prize, remarked: "We see the challenge as an opportunity to showcase innovation and bring together the ingredients that will support a town and city centre into the future. 

"The challenge will create a legacy that will inspire through innovation and ask people to be imaginative about how they could fund town centre projects into the future."

Michelle Clare, regeneration project manager at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, and one of the competition entrants, commented: "It has been exciting and rewarding to carry out the research we needed to do to pull our challenge entry together. We also found it really motivating to realise the amount of support for us and how the community would like to be involved in the long run with supporting our Town Team."

Emma Easterbrook, communications director of challenge partner RBTE and editorial director of Essential Retail, added: "The response that the Revive & Thrive challenge has generated demonstrates the needs for high streets and town centres to get connected and provide a great customer experience. 

"There are some amazing solutions available to help achieve this, and we’re really looking forward to hearing how communities feel these can be deployed in an innovative way to boost the high street."

The winner of the Revive & Thrive Challenge will be announced at RBTE 2014, which takes place at London's Earls Court between 11-12 March 2014.

Click here to register for RBTE 2014

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