Dragons' Den star to visit Sunderland to launch new free city centre parking scheme
A star of television’s Dragons’ Den is heading to Sunderland to encourage businesses to join a free city centre parking scheme she has invested in.
Jenny Campbell, a former Business Woman of the Year who made her fortune through providing ATM machines, invested £80,000 in ParkingPerx in her final appearance on the BBC hit series.
ParkingPerx is the brainchild of North East company ProxiSmart, fronted by 2019 contestant Chris Reed, and has been supported by the Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) group.
The ParkingPerx app, which will be available to download from late spring, gives users the opportunity to earn rewards from participating businesses which can then be used to pay parking charges.
It is hoped the incentive will in return boost city centre shopping.
Businesses can learn about the scheme’s benefits at a free event on Thursday, February 27, at The Looking Glass, in Athenaeum Street, Sunderland, from Jenny and a panel of experts.
She will also be the guest speaker at a business lunch organised by the BID at Sunderland College’s Bistro the following day.
Mr Reed, from Newcastle, who will also be at both events, said: “We really believe that ParkingPerx is a game changer for the high street.
“The system uses Smart Beacon technology which sends smart messages to users when they park and shop.
“Retailers decide on the incentive they want to offer and these are added to the app.
“Consumers can earn ParkingPerx in any participating outlet, meaning there's more variety than individual loyalty schemes.”
After registering their debit or credit cards once, customers will receive credits to their ParkingPerx account when they shop at participating outlets.
These can pay for parking at the end of their trip or after subsequent visits.
BID head of business operations Sharon Appleby is encouraging businesses to come along on February 27 and added: “It’s fantastic that ParkingPerx is officially launching in Sunderland and that it will run here before being rolled out across the country.
“We have been a huge supporter of it since day one and recognised that it offered a tangible way to incentivise shoppers and boost trade.
“We hope as many businesses as possible will come along on the night to listen to Jenny and find out how signing up can benefit them.”
The scheme is also being supported by The Bridges shopping centre and Sunderland City Council.
Bridges director Andy Bradley said: "ParkingPerx is an initiative that will benefit both businesses and our customers so it's a really positive step for us.
"It's a really convenient way for shoppers to get added value and save on parking at the same time."
Council cabinet member for environment and transport, Councillor Amy Wilson, added: “Apps such as ParkingPerx are a great and growing opportunity for both businesses and residents.
“All users are supporting the city’s shops and getting more value and rewards for parking in the city.”
While the February 28 lunch is fully booked, some places remain for the February 27 launch.
To find out more or to sign up, contact [email protected]