Free retail space and masterclasses for Manchester’s small businesses as Mastercard’s ‘Thrive Street’ pop-up comes to the city in June

May 25, 2023 | Manchester, UK
  • Small businesses in Manchester will get access to free retail space and expert masterclasses as Mastercard brings its ‘Thrive Street’ pop-up to Manchester from 7th - 12th June.  
  • ‘Queen of Shops’, Mary Portas will officially open a pop-up high street alongside small businesses, policymakers and industry bodies.
  • Local entrepreneurs and small business owners are invited to free expert masterclasses on social media, pitching for funds and accessing alternative finance, and can register here.


Manchester, UK, 25 May 2023: Manchester’s small businesses will have the chance to test out a retail space for free and attend expert masterclasses to help grow their business, as Mastercard brings its ‘Thrive Street’ pop-up to Manchester from 7th – 12th June 2023.

The event will kick off with an afternoon of masterclasses on Wednesday 7th June at co-working space, Colony, One Silk Street. The day will be hosted by Holly Moore, Founder of Anything is Possible, and the 30-45-minute masterclasses will cover a range of topics including social media, creative marketing, pitching for funds, and accessing alternative finance. The sessions will be run by experts including Anna Jones, CEO at Your AJency and creative marketing strategist; Saloma Kelly, Digital Marketeer and serial entrepreneur; and Tinuke Awe, Founder of Learning with Ez, social entrepreneur, and public speaker. 

The masterclasses are open to all, free to attend, and finish with an evening of networking attended by experts and small business owners. Businesses can register their interest here.

Thrive Street is part of Mastercard’s Strive UK programme, which helps small businesses access free training and advice to tackle business challenges, like setting up an online shop, managing cashflow and creating a social media strategy. Businesses also have access to experienced entrepreneurs and boards to help them grow their business and strengthen their resilience. Strive UK has supported more than half a million businesses to date and works with Enterprise Nation, Digital Boost and Be the Business to provide support.

Small business owners in Manchester say they want more support, especially when it comes to using technology to grow their business. Two in five (42%) Manchester-based business owners say they want to use more digital tools but don’t know which ones are best for their business, compared to 33% nationally. More than a quarter (27%) say that access to mentorship and support will be crucial to the future growth of their business.

The Thrive Street pop-up high street will open at the Arndale Centre on Thursday 8th June. Strive UK ambassador, Mary Portas, will officially open the event alongside Kelly Devine, President, UK&I at Mastercard, as well as local policymakers and industry bodies.

Businesses at the pop-up will include Calla Shoes, footwear for women; Clair T Designs, hand-knitted decorations; MAN-CUB, matching clothing for father and son; The Chocolate Cellar, handmade chocolate; Didsbury Gin, hand-distilled, natural fruit-infused gin; and Bunny Style, PRIDE-themed clothing. 

Kelly Devine, President, UK&I at Mastercard, comments: “Manchester is bursting with entrepreneurship, creativity and talent, but small businesses need more support to grow and boost their resilience. We’re excited to give some of Manchester’s small businesses the chance to sell to new customers, and help hundreds more to learn valuable skills that will help their business thrive.”


About Strive UK:

Mastercard’s Strive UK programme helps small businesses by providing free access to training and targeted advice to tackle business challenges. It particularly focuses on helping small businesses with digital skills. This can be anything from how to create a social media strategy, setting up an online shop or accepting digital payments. Strive UK works with three partners: Be the Business, Digital Boost and Enterprise Nation to deliver the training and support.

Strive UK will support 650,000 small businesses, with a particular focus on female and ethnic-minority led businesses. Strive UK forms part of the Strive portfolio, a set of programmes led by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth that helps small businesses succeed in the digital economy across the world. Mastercard is investing $250 million between now and 2025 to support micro and small businesses globally.

Media Contacts

Emma Harvey, Mastercard

About Mastercard (UK)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.