Shane Gibson/Metro Winnipeg Designer Lennard Taylor, 28, is one of seven young entrepreneurs given retail space to try out small business ownership in a pop up shop at Portage Place Shopping Centre opened Tuesday.

Seven young entrepreneurs are getting the chance to sell their wares out of a downtown storefront thanks to a pop up shop opened at Portage Place Shopping Centre Tuesday.

Created through a partnership between the mall and Downtown Winniepg BIZ, Launch It! Youth Entrepreneurship Incubator and Pop UP Shop is a three-week pilot project giving the small business owners roughly 4,000 square-feet of space to display their products in the front and small offices to conduct business from in the back.

“It’s about learning and making connections,” explained BIZ executive director Stefano Grande, noting the shop’s second floor location just off the skywalk coming from MTS Centre means as many as 10,000 people a day will walk past the store. “You don’t get this kind of exposure anywhere else.”

The location—formerly a spa—was donated free of charge by Portage Place, who, along with the BIZ, and the entrepreneurs themselves will decide whether or not to keep it going once the pilot ends April 15.

“We’ll see where it goes,” said Portage Place general manager, Dave Stone, who didn’t rule out the possibility of making the shop a permanent fixture. “If this is successful, and we can see this becoming an ongoing downtown program, then we’ll look at a business plan.”

In the meantime designer Lennard Taylor, 28, is just happy to have a space to show off his wide range of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.

“I really hope that Winnipeg embraces what we’re doing here,” he said. “There’s a huge benefit to entrepreneurs being downtown and I think it really beneficial to our community.”

Businesses taking part include OI Furniture, Synonym Art Consultation, EPH Apparel, The Bannock Factory, Delicious Kicks, and DigiPlus, and the shop is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Saturday.