National Youth Market

The NMTF has run the National Youth Market since 2013. Although the format and delivery partners have changed over the years, the objective has always been the same – to celebrate young entrepreneurs trading on our nation’s markets, festivals, and fairs. As of 2018, around 200 young people have traded on the National Youth Market. Today, most are actively trading on markets, festivals, and fairs all over the UK.

From 2013 to 2017, the National Youth Market was held in the city centre of Manchester – Albert Square, then King Street. In 2018, the event moved to Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon. Since 2013, the NMTF has worked in partnership with the following organisations to deliver the National Youth Market: UnLtd, vInspired, Manchester City Council, LSD Promotions, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, and Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council. Partners work in kind.

Except for the first National Youth Market in 2013, the event is open to any entrepreneur aged between 16 to 30 who is based and trades in the UK. The event is held over two days at the end of the summer holidays to ensure that young people in full-time education can make the most of the opportunity. An outdoor market, traders are provided with tables and a gazebo. Holding the event in August increases the likelihood of fairer weather.

Trader recruitment runs from April to July via an application form on the NMTF’s website (click here to view the latest version). Recruitment is open to all who meet the acceptance criteria. From 2015 to 2017, NABMA encouraged their members to hold local youth markets and to nominate ‘Market Champions’ to represent their areas and trade at the event. In 2018, the NMTF took an active role in coordinating regional heats in Greater Manchester and Yorkshire (read the case study for the Yorkshire Youth Market here).

The promotional strategy for the event relies heavily on public relations with a strong focus on social media. Content is shared between all the delivery partners to ensure a wide reach – all link to each other use the same hashtags (e.g. #NYM18, #marketsmatter). From acceptance, traders are supplied content to promote their participation at the event. A joint press release is issued to regional media with images and quotes from the traders and organisers (click here to view an example from 2018).

“Thank you so much for an amazing event!! It was such a great two days I enjoyed it so much and to have won an award was just fantastic! I really appreciate all the organising that was put into it and the fact that it was a free stall… WOW! I will be applying again next year, can’t wait to do it all again!”
Sophie Rogers, High Vibe Designs (Highly Commended, 2018)

From start to finish, the NMTF liaises with the traders. They work closely with the market operator to set the rules and regulations, decide balance of trade, and communicate operational instructions. Where possible, free parking permits, overnight storage and deals on accommodation are made available to traders. On the day, operations are shared between the NMTF and the market operator – from bump-in to close-down there is always someone on site for traders to speak with.

The National Youth Market is a competition to crown the UK’s Young Trader of the Year. Early on, a set of judging criteria is decided on and freely made available online (click here to view an example from 2018). The NMTF curates the product mix to reflect the diversity of the industry – it’s not your regular traditional or specialist market! Over the years, judges have varied. It’s a difficult job, but experience in markets, festivals, and fairs is essential to do the role justice.

“I loved it - and was well impressed by the standard of the young traders. I think the criteria helped enormously for our judges. In my eyes they were all winners in the taking part. Well done to the NMTF team and LSD Promotions. The National Youth Market is so important for the industry.”
Peter Gott, Sillfield Farm (Judge, 2018)

Prizes for the UK’s Young Trader of the Year and up to three Highly Commended awards have varied, too. But free membership of the NMTF and a cash prize have remained constant – to ensure that the winners can give their business a boost. From 2015 to 2017, NABMA awarded the Highly Commended traders £100 each. The NMTF provided £500 to the overall winner. The NMTF is grateful to NABMA for its support to the National Youth Market.

What’s next for the National Youth Market? The NMTF intends to support the delivery of regional youth markets across the whole of the UK by 2020. The model is a simple one – local to regional to national. It worked fantastically in Yorkshire and the NMTF believe the same can be done across the country. The event will take on a whole new look in 2019 – rebranded as the National Young Traders Market! #YoungTraders

“The NMTF is proud to run this event. Our sector needs to embrace and support the next generation of entrepreneurs. They are full of ideas, enthusiasm, and passion for their products. But like in all aspects of life, they may need that helping hand, that mentor, to take them to next level. The NMTF is doing our bit but we know we can do more. Watch this space for how the National Youth Market is evolving – get in touch, get involved.”
Joe Harrison, Chief Executive, NMTF

Question or comment about the National Youth Market? Or, are you a young person interested in trading on markets? An operator interested in running a youth market? Get in touch with Chris Savage, Projects Manager, or Rachel Harban, Deputy Projects Manager at the NMTF on 01226 749 021 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Click here to visit the NMTF’s website to find out the latest about the National Youth Market.


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