EE reveals almost a third of new UK businesses will start life as a pop-up

  • New research from EE reveals 11.6 million people plan to start their own business within the next two years, and almost a third (29 per cent) want do so by launching a pop-up
  • EE is supporting retail space marketplace Appear Here's 'Space for Ideas' competition, which launches today and will give three of the nation's most exciting aspiring entrepreneurs a free shop for their idea
  • ‘Space for Ideas’ applicants will be judged by an expert retail panel including Cambridge Satchel Company founder Julie Deane, restaurateur and founder of Ceviche Martin Morales, TV broadcaster Dawn O’Porter, associate editor of GQ Robert Johnston, London Evening Standard CEO Steve Aukland and Appear Here CEO Ross Bailey
  • EE’s Pop-Up UK campaign and bundles help reduce barriers for people wanting to launch their first pop-up:


New research has revealed that almost a third (29 per cent) of new British businesses will start life as a pop-up. The research from EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, has found that 11.6 million people1 want to become an entrepreneur in the next two years, and 29 per cent of them plan to do so by launching a pop-up.

Building on EE’s Pop-up UK campaign and bundles to help people start their own businesses, EE is supporting Appear Here, the leading online marketplace for short term retail space, and its ‘Space for Ideas’ competition to find and support the UK’s next top pop-up entrepreneurs. Winners will receive prime retail space in London for two weeks; an EE 4G Pop-Up Bundle including tablets, smartphones and mobile payments devices; £3,000 to build out their pop-up shop; and advertising space within the London Evening Standard.

Applicants will be judged by an expert retail panel including Cambridge Satchel Company founder Julie Deane, restaurateur and founder of Ceviche Martin Morales, TV broadcaster Dawn O’Porter, associate editor of GQ Robert Johnston, London Evening Standard CEO Steve Aukland and Appear Here CEO Ross Bailey. Entries open today and will close on June 29th, and winners will be announced on 16th July. To enter the competition, aspiring entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply here:

Mike Tomlinson, Director of Small Business, EE said “This research shows that Britain is now a nation of aspiring business owners. Whether you’re starting your first business on your own or you’re an established company testing out a new location or product, pop-ups have become a tried and tested business strategy. At EE, and with partners like Appear Here, we’re bringing down barriers to setting up businesses through this competition, our Pop-Up bundles, and a growing range of 4G connected products to help businesses of all sizes be even more productive.”

Ross Bailey, founder and CEO of Appear Here, said: "Appear Here is the leading site to book retail space online. Marc Jacobs, Jamie Oliver and even Apple have launched shops through our site, though the majority of our community are independents looking to bring their ideas to life. We’re launching the inaugural ‘Space for Ideas Competition’ to give away three shops to find the three biggest brands of tomorrow. Some of the most exciting retailers and start-ups of the moment started out in Appear Here’s spaces, from Finery to Crosstown Donuts and PRESS London. This summer we hope to find three more at the start of their journey.”

Pop-up successes are becoming increasingly commonplace, and increasingly pop-ups like PRESS London are growing into larger businesses that operate as both a bricks and mortar retailer and a pop-up. In addition, well established online-only businesses are increasingly looking at pop-up as a viable way in which to connect with their customers in the physical world. Recent high profile examples include Amazon and Google, but these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the increasing demand.

The CEBR and EE’s The Pop-up Retail Economy report last year found that pop-up retail contributes a massive £2.1 billion to the UK economy. Ahead of the next annual report, the new research from EE has also revealed that more than half of people (57 per cent) believe a pop-up is a great way to start a business, and more than 39 per cent of people are inspired by the success of pop-ups.

However, challenges still exist. Almost a third (32 per cent) said they worry about not having the right technology to realise their ideas, and that they worry about not being able to find and manage the right space for their shop.

The research also revealed the most popular types of pop-up that people in the UK would like to start:


Type of pop-up









Art and crafts






Jewellery and accessories



More information about the competition can be found at, and more information about EE’s Pop-Up UK campaign including products and guidance for pop-ups can be found here:

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact the EE Business press team on: or 020 7544 3735


Richard Bell t: 020 7544 3758 m: 07805 568395 e:

1 The working population is estimated by the ONS to be 40.1 million. 29 per cent of this number (those that will start a business within next two years) totals 11.6 million. Source for working population statistic is here:


About the research


Online survey of 2,000 UK consumers undertaken by OnePoll in May 2015. 

About the competition

Space for Ideas is a London-wide competition to help the best of the next generation of brands, retailers and entrepreneurs find space for their ideas. Supported by the London Evening Standard and EE, three winners will win two weeks in free and fully supported shop in Central London, advertising spend in the London Evening Standard, design budget and an EE technology and payment bundle for the duration of the shop. Entries for the competition open on the 1st of June and close at midnight on the 29th June. Winners will be announced on the 16th July and the three shops will open from the 11th - 24th August. Entrants must be UK residents aged 18 and over (unless prior written consent from a parent or legal guardian is obtained). See for full terms and conditions.

About EE


EE is the largest and most advanced digital communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market. EE has approximately 14,000 employees and 548 retail stores, and serves more than 30 million customers across its mobile, fixed and wholesale businesses.

EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, pioneering the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012 and is the first European operator to surpass the 10million 4G customer landmark. EE's 4G coverage today reaches more than 87% of the UK population. EE’s 2G coverage reaches 99% of the population while 3G reaches 98%. EE's superfast fibre broadband service covers 74% of the UK population, and ADSL broadband service covers 98.7% of the population.

In the last few years, EE has received extensive independent recognition including being ranked the UK's best overall network by RootMetrics®; Best Network at the 2014 and 2015 Mobile News Awards; Fastest Network at the 2013 and 2014 uSwitch Awards; Best Network at the 2014 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards and the What Mobile Awards 2013 and 2014; Number One for Network Innovation at the 2013 Recombu Awards; Best Mobile Network at the 2014 Recombu Awards; Best Network for Business at the 2013 and 2014 Mobile Industry Awards; and Best Consumer Network at the 2014 Mobile Industry Awards

About Appear Here

Appear Here is the leading online marketplace for short-term space. Used by thousands of brands, retailers, and entrepreneurs every month, Appear Here has helped companies such as Google, Net-a-porter and Marc Jacobs to start-ups including Eventbrite, PRESS London and SUITCASE Magazine, find space for their ideas. With over 700 spaces listed online, Appear Here currently covers most major cities in the UK including Bath, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Named as one of Wired’s ‘100 Hottest Start Ups’ and The Financial Times’ most ‘Disruptive Companies of 2014,’ Appear Here has become the go-to destination to make innovative and creative retail ideas happen. The company was founded in the summer of 2012 by Ross Bailey. Its backers include Balderton Capital, Forward Investment Partners, MMC Ventures and Meyer Bergman – the early investors in Hailo, Citymapper and Yoox.