ENTREPRENEURS Jackie Mackenzie and Jeanette Newton are starting up their second business by taking advantage of a special six-week lease offer at Swindon Tented Market.

The covered market has rolled out a new scheme to start-up businesses by offering six-week leases with no strings attached.

It is hoped the offer will encourage more business owners to test the market, with the short-term lease giving them the chance to see if there is interest enough to support a six-month contract.

Jackie, 46, and Jeanette, 48, have set up LilyAnn’s Style at Home in Unit 8 of the market, which specialises in upcycling furniture and handmade crafts.

The Adver ran a story on the pair in April 2009, when they set up Don’t Stop Me Now, which provides a range of services for the elderly, offering a mobile facility which visits residential homes and community centres.

“The offer’s there just to see if it works and if it does we sign up for six months,” said Jackie, of Abbotsbury Way in St Andrew’s Ridge.

“It gives smaller businesses a chance to get out there and put the feelers out to see if it’s going to work before they sign up. You could lose a lot of money if it doesn’t take off and you’re committed to a six-month contract.

“It’s a great way of smaller businesses, like ourselves, being able to do something which we love, and the Tented Market is helping us to do that.

“There’s no way we would have been able to sign up at the normal rates.”

Jackie and Jeanette are not newcomers when it comes to handmade craft gifts. In June last year they started to organise craft fairs at halls and churches around Swindon, with a regular fixture now at St John’s Church in Haydon Wick once a month.

LilyAnn’s also hires out an area of West Swindon Shopping Centre once a month to showcase the talents of its two founders.

“In Cirencester and Devizes there are very regular craft fairs going on, but in Swindon we have nothing, so we wanted to change that,” said Jackie.

“There’s definitely a market for handmade crafts in Swindon, as well as upcycled furniture.”

Jackie said a new sweet shop and florist have also recently taken advantage of the deal.

“The Tented Market could be massive.

“There’s an awful lot of empty units of varying sizes,” she said.

“The people already here with shops have been so lovely and friendly to us.

“A lot of our friends have said they always thought the market looked closed, so we are hoping, with a bit of publicity, this place could become quite a focal point for the town centre.”