Working closely with a group of experienced leaders from the private sector and central and local government, the Underserved Markets project investigated barriers, real and perceived, deterring companies from investing in some of the most deprived areas in England. With support from Experian, research has been used to demonstrate that commercial opportunities exist for business in many of these areas.
The key objectives of the Under-served Markets project were to:
- Identify and measure the market opportunities within the 88 ‘deprived’ areas;
- Deliver four pilot projects, ensuring their commercial viability;
- Engage the core business units of companies with the goal of demonstrating that investment in these communities is a business opportunity with a regeneration benefit;
- Ensure that the project is business-led, through a Working Group of retailers and developers;
- Inform government policy and address potential barriers to investment;
The project has created a body of research for use in identifying pilots that offer the best opportunities for successful investment. This has involved engaging both the retail and property sectors and working with targeted local authorities to ensure support for the project’s pilot investments.