Yorkshire Youth Market

The first Yorkshire Youth Market was held in Leeds’ Kirkgate Market on 1 August 2018 – Yorkshire Day! It was run by the NMTF and hosted by Leeds City Council. 40 of the region’s finest young traders had stalls at the event. It was the culmination of a collaborative project between the NMTF and market operators across Yorkshire.

The NMTF is a strong proponent of youth markets as a platform to introduce young entrepreneurs to market trading and encourage them to incorporate regular trading on markets, festivals, and fairs, into their business models. Their head office is in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Their own backyard was an ideal region to pilot a regional youth market!

The first stage was to bring like-minded market operators together. This became known as the Yorkshire Markets Forum. Held at the NMTF’s Head Office, market operators met every two months to share updates, network, and learn from each other’s pitfalls and successes. Guest speakers were invited to present on appropriate topics.

As of August 2018, market operators involved in the Yorkshire Markets Forum include: Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Doncaster, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Rotherham, Sheffield, Wakefield, and York. Not all operators could engage fully in the project, but all were invited to contribute ideas, offer advice and assist how they could.

Market operators were asked to run a series of youth markets in their local areas in May and June, ideally incorporated into a traditional retail market or a specialist event. A name for the project was decided – Yorkshire Youth Markets. A logo was designed by the NMTF and shared freely with market operators (see logo above).

Each operator decided on their own age criteria; but between 16 to 30 was generally adopted. Each had their own online application process. To support this the NMTF created an online expression of interest form and promoted this at the regional level (click here to view the latest version). Some operators actively recruited via Instagram.

The NMTF encouraged operators to run ‘recruitment events’ in April where young entrepreneurs could find out more. Barnsley, Sheffield, and Wakefield took up the mantle. Barnsley’s event was run by the NMTF’s Young Trader of the Year 2017, Rose Dyson. The Moor Market worked with Sheffield Hallam University to run information sessions.  

Market operators collaborated on judging criteria. This would be used to select up to four of their best young traders to send to the regional heat. Using 2017’s National Youth Market criteria as a template, this was tweaked with feedback from the operators (click here to view it). Judges for local youth markets were selected by the operators.

Most of the youth markets were a success. Market operators made connections with local schools, colleges, and universities, which shared the opportunities with young traders. The more entrepreneurial traded on several youth markets across the region. One youth market had over 20 traders, another youth market had one trader.

For the most part, the youth markets were free to trade. A learning for some was to charge a small fee or a refundable deposit. This is to secure commitment to the event. One operator expected seven young entrepreneurs to turn up and trade, but when only one turned up, it was clear that in this instance the commitment was not there.

With traders’ permission, market operators provided the contact details of their ‘Market Champions’ to the NMTF. The NMTF led on trader liaison, setting up a closed Facebook group for traders to network and share experiences. Traders were communicated with regularly and were strongly encouraged to promote participation at the event.

Leeds Markets and the NMTF liaised on operational issues. The events area in the Covered Daily Market provided the perfect venue. A joint press release was issued (click here to read it). Leeds Markets provided the stalls and delivered a full day of entertainment, including craft workshops, guided trails, and live performances from local artists.

The icing on the cake was a World Record Attempt for the most flat-caps in one place. Managed by Leeds Markets, 419 people were counted and filtered through the youth market, visiting the stalls and speak with the young entrepreneurs. This attempt was sponsored by Chip & PIN Solutions. The record was broken!

The NMTF coordinated a judging panel to select Yorkshire’s Young Trader of the Year and three Highly Commended traders. The same criteria were used. Judges took three hours speaking to all 40 traders one to one. Lauren Charlton took the crown with her business, Yorkshire Print. All were invited to trade at the National Youth Market.

The Yorkshire Youth Market attracted interest from regional media. The event was covered by newspapers, radio, and television. Click the links to view some of the coverage: Yorkshire Post, Leeds TV, Leeds Live, Sheffield Star, Yorkshire Evening Post, Roth Biz. Social media were active on the day, all using the same hashtags (#yoyoma18, #marketsmatter).

Following the event, market operators met to evaluate the project and decide the future of the Yorkshire Markets Forum. It was decided the forum would continue, primarily to organise the following year’s project. Market operators reported that young entrepreneurs who participated in the event continue to trade on their regular markets.

What’s next for the Yorkshire 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 National Youth Market will take on a whole new look in 2019 – rebranded as the National Young Traders Market! #YoungTraders

Click here to visit the NMTF’s website to find out the latest about the Yorkshire Youth Market.

Question or comment about the Yorkshire 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..



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