Free online trading offer for businesses

Businesses in North Yorkshire are being offered free subscriptions to a shopping website to help them trade during the Covid-19 crisis.

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has invested in a community led shopping platform,, allowing local businesses to have free 12-month subscriptions to the site. Launching today (Monday 18 May), it’s targeting businesses from 10 towns in the area who will be able to access the free offer.

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub is funded by government and coordinated by the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Richard Shaw, Chair of the Business Board at York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We’re not likely to see a return to pre-lockdown shopping habits for quite some time, but we think can really help businesses and shoppers right now. Businesses that can’t trade as they used to can get set up on with limited technical know-how and without the cost of building and promoting their own standalone store. Goods can be delivered by local delivery partners or collected in a way that complies with social distancing rules. We think this will appeal to businesses of all sizes and will also include services that can provide online events and activities as well as hairdressers and beauticians who can sell their products or provide buy now, use later vouchers to help them through the crisis.

“York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has made this investment as we feel this can help businesses operate, and that could be the difference between surviving the Covid-19 crisis or having to close.”

Shoppers will start to see a wide range of shops and services on the site as businesses from North Yorkshire join.

Richard added: “Consumers will see a convenient and easy to use a channel through which they can support their high streets and markets and the local community now and in the future. This will have a positive impact on the local economy, preserve the high street and rural enterprises, and build community connections. It will also assist with creating resilience by giving businesses an alternative operating model, so they can continue trading should they have to close their premises again in the future.”

Support will be offered by the Growth Hub to help firms get started on and advise on areas such as marketing and adapting business models. The Growth Hub will also offer help to build local networks in support of delivery options for businesses. is a social enterprise and a support local campaign founded in 2016 which aims to “revive British high streets”.  

Jackie Mulligan, pictured, Founder of, said “We are delighted to be working to help towns and communities at this time and to be partnering with the LEP on this. With our recently announced partnership with Visa helping us provide support to more small businesses across the UK, we are certain that this will provide a real and tangible benefit to North Yorkshire businesses and the community.”

Sue Thompson, Founder of award winning business network group Thirsty Thursday Stokesley, said: “The introduction of the ShopAppy platform to Stokesley will be of great interest to our businesses and service providers. Any kind of support that is offered at this difficult time to revive our high street will be welcomed and will no doubt generate interest from customers both within Stokesley and further afield. We have a great range of independent shops and businesses and it is a great place to shop, relax and enjoy the Gateway to the North York Moors.  We will look forward to showcasing it in Stokesley.”

Businesses interested in taking up the free offer can find out more here.