Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green is setting up a £100,000 seed fund for Fashion Retail Academy (FRA) students who want to start a business.
Green made the announcement at the FRA Awards in London last night (July 8) to an audience of students, teachers and fashion retail bosses including Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland and Tesco’s chief product officer Jason Tarry. Tony Blair, who was prime minister when the FRA opened, also attended.
Celebrating 10 years of the FRA, which he founded with support from M&S, Next, F&F at Tesco and Experian in 2005, Green said: “So many people come up to me with ideas. I’m going to put up £100,000 as a kitty, which will offer some students the opportunity for a startup. £10,000 to £20,000 may be the catalyst that helps them to succeed.”
He said he was open to all ideas, from setting up a shop or brand to ecommerce and technology startups. Details have yet to be confirmed.
The FRA, which has organised 5,235 work placements for students since its inception, will introduce new digital qualifications for 2016: Level 4 Digital Skills for Retail and Levels 3 and 4 Digital Marketing.
Over the next three years it will double its intake of students from 800 to 1600.
Green said: “The success rate of the students is testament to our tutors who do a fantastic job every single day. We now look towards the future of the FRA in this digital era. The industry is changing and we want to find and support future innovators of the fashion world.”