The search is on for young Teessiders, with a great idea and an eye for business, who want to take part in a national contest.
On 15 June Middlesbrough’s Dundas Shopping Centre and Indoor Market is holding a Young Traders Market, with the best businesses put through to a regional heat to compete for a place in the national final – where big prizes are on offer.
Traders have to be aged between 16 and 30, live in Teesside and – above all – have a great business idea which they are keen to try out.
“This is a fantastic and exciting opportunity which will hopefully set a young local entrepreneur on the road to great success,” said Dundas Market manager David Harris.
“We’ve held very successful Youth Markets here over the last couple of years, but this is taking it to a new level.”
Dundas Market itself has an impressive track record of nurturing independent traders as they take their first steps in business.
“It’s a great way to start out, it’s low risk and you get very direct feedback from your customers,” said David.
Major retailers – including Marks and Spencer and Tesco – started their businesses trading at markets. Although they have grown to employ thousands of people, two-thirds of all UK businesses – including small retailers and independent traders – do not employ anybody apart from the owner.
“The number of people looking to do something different and be their own boss has certainly increased,” said David.
“It could be because of the influence of television programmes like The Apprentice or Dragons Den or it could be the decline of bigger retailers. All you need is a good idea, an understanding of who your customers might be and the capacity for hard work.”
Businesses which took part in previous Dundas Youth Markets have included Caught Red Handed, which makes bespoke picture frames; iGenius Mobile, which provides custom designed mobile phone and tablet covers, and byalishasadiq which sells luxury eyelashes and has subsequently gone on to open a shop in Middlesbrough – The House of Sadiq.