The recession and resulting unemployment crisis made way for a wave of business start-ups, with many unable to find work instead deciding to hone their entrepreneurial skills. And while the recession may be over, the enthusiasm for self-employment remains, paving the way for young people to make the most of their ideas.
In fact, a new initiative has now been launched nationwide to allow teenagers to showcase their business ideas in preparation for entering work after they leave education. The Teenage Market, masterminded by brothers Joe and Tom Barratt, gives teenage entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their creative ideas to their local community by way of a market stall set-up.
First established in Stockport, where the scheme has been a resounding success, the Teenage Market will now appear in cities such as Leeds, London and Stoke on Trent after the two brothers made a compelling case for expansion in front of UK town and city trading managers at a local markets conference. It is hoped that youngsters will respond to the idea with enthusiasm and therefore contribute significantly to the regeneration of high streets across the country.
Founder Joe Barratt explains the thought process behind the ground-breaking initiative.
He says; “Our hometown of Stockport had recently been through some tough times, with the market area particularly struggling to adapt to the rise in big brands in shopping centres and the invention of online shopping.
“We wanted to find a way to make the market area the heart of the town again, whilst also actively involving the town’s incredibly large population of creative young people by giving them something they could connect with and feel proud about.”
In order to become involved with the Teenage Market programme, local authorities simply pay £750 per year – or a discounted rate of £1,000 for 24 months – which then covers the cost of hosting the stalls, meaning that teenagers may then take up places free of charge. Local authorities also have the option of sourcing funding from private bodies, and have the added option of taking on an insurance package for an additional fee.
Above all, Teenage Market provides young people with the chance to learn valuable business skills in a hands-on way and thus allows them to build strong foundations for their small business. Mr Barratt believes that this is key in revitalising town centres and creating strong local economies.
He continues; “With both youth unemployment and university tuition fees now at a record high it’s even more important that young people are given a free platform and valuable opportunity to learn and develop skills which could have a huge impact on shaping both their lives and their business.
“In terms of the future, I’m really interested in trying to see where our high streets, market areas and town centres will be in the next ten years.”
Do you think that this initiative should be implemented into existing schemes such as the Portas pilot towns project as standard?