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Financial support for new businesses

​​​To help boost business and create more vibrant town centres in the Rochdale borough, we’re offering a big benefit to new independent retailers opening in selected empty units: 

  • Start-up grants of up to £5,000

Whether you’re setting up in business for the first time, trading outside the town centre and looking for a high street base, or thinking of expanding, there’s never been a better time to bring your business to the borough of Rochdale.

Start-up grant​

Start-up grants can be used for new doors, windows and signage, as well as other permanent work such as internal improvements. The grants cover 50% of the cost of the work, with grants of up to £5,000 available. ​​

Properties​ available

​​The start-up grants apply to selected empty properties in the following areas:


  • Yorkshire Street up to John Street
  • The Walk
  • Parts of Baillie Street
  • South Parade
  • Cheetham Street
  • Union Street
  • St Mary's Gate

Rochdale town centre schemes boundary map (362kb pdf)​


  • Market Place
  • Market Street
  • Parts of Bridge Street

Heywood town centre ​schemes boundary map (201kb pdf)


  • Parts of Long Street
  • Parts of Wood Street
  • Middleton Gardens

Middleton town centre schemes boundary map (198kb pdf)​

Success story

Lavinia Rose Bridal

Lavinia Rose Bridal, Market Place, Heywood:

"I started looking at venues and was initially interested in a site in Droylsden, but this shop was a bigger unit, the location is really bustling and busy and the numbers worked much better, with the business rates sale.  I think this initiative is great for the high street. There is no other bridal shop in Heywood, so we're bringing something totally new to the area" - Kerry Russell, owner.

Am I eligible for the start-up grant?

We’ve launched these schemes to reduce the number of empty shops in our key town centres and improve the quality of the shopping experience in Rochdale borough. For that reason, we’re particularly interested in hearing from the following types of businesses:

  • Cafes, restaurants and coffee shops
  • Clothes shops
  • Shops selling food and drink
  • ​Home and garden shops
  • Travel shops
  • Specialist shops
  • Health and beauty shops
  • Finance/banking/solicitors/professional services ​(in selected areas in Rochdale)

​​The following businesses are excluded from the schemes:

  • Charity shops
  • Pawn broker/cash generator shops
  • Mobile phone shops
  • Off licences and newsagents​
  • E-cig shops
  • Pubs, bars and clubs
  • Pound shops
  • Taxi offices
  • Adult shops
  • Takeaways​

Find out more

If you've any questions - for example, about whether an empty unit is eligible for either of the schemes, or how to complete the application forms, please get in touch.​ 

Call 01706 927000 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) ​

Or email ​​​

​Apply for a start-up grant​

Please read the guidance notes before completing the application form.​

Please return your start-up grant​ application by email to with the subject 'Start-up grants' or by post to:

Start-up grants
Rochdale Development Agency
​Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU



01706 927000

Phone: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

Rochdale Development Agency
Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU

RDA website