Stockton Market have a dedicated Youth Enterprise Officer who works with teachers, children and young people to deliver Business and Enterprise interventions. Manager Richard Beddard explains how they work with schools and colleges to share the personal skills as well as the trading experience required to run a market trader business.
“We have been running Stockton Youth Markets which were born out of a project called Young Business Club which was a great success and saw several Youth Enterprise Businesses doing very well on the day and gaining a wealth of knowledge along the way. These were arranged through Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Business and Enterprise Team with support from the legal, Markets and Town Centre and Specialist Event teams. The event ran alongside the traditional Saturday Market between 9am and 4pm.
“We also work with young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) via our youth services provision, Youth Direction. The last enterprise project saw 15 young NEETs create a Christmas themed business for Stockton Sparkles and they made £92 in profit as well as gaining vital life-skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, communication, creativity and financial management.
“We also have a direct link with the Stockton Riverside College and the Princes Trust. We provide them with free spaces on our markets for recruitment days. This can only benefit the town, the more students learning in our town helps the local economy.
“Young Business Club members and delegates of Stockton Start-Up Programme all have access to our traditional markets, specialist markets and pop-up shop facilities in the Shambles and The Enterprise Arcade. Any young person who demonstrates enterprising activity will be supported in any way we can via the council or working with partners in the voluntary and community sectors as well as the private sector. Young people that take up this offer will be treated like real traders and will receive support from our legal department, communications, and events teams. Other support may include environmental health, health and safety or linking up with partners that can add real value.
“My advice for other markets doing this sort of thing is to remove as many barriers for young people as possible such as set-up of the market stall. Cover their insurance for one-off events and promote the event as much as possible. If young people have a positive experience of running a business, they’ll be more likely to set up their own business as they get older.
“We gather feedback from our young traders to tell us how and if it can be improved. This might include suggestions such as the position of the market, including music and other activities to draw in crowds. We use this feedback to implement our planning and consult with young people to ensure they are part of the decision making process – it’s their market!”
Quotes from Stockton’s satisfied young traders
“The support off Jenny was exceptional, very kind and helpful. It was a casual nature – no PLI, no pressure or lots of forms to fill in and the combination of stalls worked well” - Abby Taylor, Graphic Artist and Illustrator
“I think the location was excellent and it had good footfall” – Joe Douglass, DouGLASS Etching and Burning
“Great event, well planned and good communication before and during the event” – Leigh Niven, Hallie’s Handmade Crafts
“Overall Stockton Youth Market was a success. I had the chance to advertise and let people know about the services I offer” – Abraar Mahfooz, iGenius
“I got the chance to ask people about my products and what was missing. The help from Jenny Donaldson has been invaluable. We also met some inspirational Stockton Enterprise Champions who all offered help and guidance” – Danielle Alderson, Creative Crescent
“As well as testing the market at Stockton Youth Market, all young traders receive follow-on support via Stockton Enterprise Champions, a scheme where local business people offer advice and guidance about starting up. Stockton Borough Council also run an annual business boot camp called Stockton Start-Up Programme, as well as a short course in market trading called ‘Perfect Pitch for Retail’ which is delivered by Stockton Council Learning and Skills.
“The whole council works together to support the next generation of entrepreneurs as we understand fear and lack of finance are the biggest barriers for young people setting up in business. By removing these barriers, we allow the young entrepreneurs to trade in a risk-free and safe environment. By working alongside our legal department, we can cover them under our insurance policy for one-off events such as Stockton Youth Market; it gives young people a real eye-opener into the world of business” – Jenny Donaldson, Business and Enterprise Officer.
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing, Councillor Nigel Cooke, said:
“Events like the Youth Market help to give young people a taste of what it could be like to run their own business while also developing their skills, confidence, and encouraging enterprise.
“There are a lot of very talented young people growing up in our Borough and we want to support them to develop their skills and knowledge.”
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