Markets are valuable low risk spaces for entrepreneurial and creative activity - testing ideas, learning business skills and making some money. They can also be a marketing tool used to showcase products and signpost customers to online shops.
However, young people are statistically the most likely to start a business, but the least likely to be able to sustain and grow their business.
The market is open to all students and young people aged 18-24. Participants will be offered workshops in market trading, production, presentation, business modeling and marketing, plus three months of free stall hire and mentoring to develop their business. After this, and on regular market days (in agreement with the market manager) they can hire subsidized stalls.
A monthly market develops the community and will be highly promoted to attract new visitors to the area. It creates a supportive, vibrant and fun testing ground for products and services,as well as the opportunity to earn money, network, and apply new skills. A project website and online shop will enable established student makers to promote and sell their work.
The pilot market in December 2013 was very successful; with only a little publicity there were over 100 students waiting for workshops. On the day, 35 young people were selling work from 62 makers.
The team are fundraising for the training costs, gazebo’s and equipment to make it more mobile and sustainable. Student Makers' will be able to hire out stalls to those who have completed the training and charge commission on the online sales.
Many colleges, schools and universities want to become involved, and there are currently discussions taking place on how to contribute to the ongoing costs of the market.
The team are talking with organisations in Margate (A Portas Pilot Town), Herne Bay and Folkestone about potential pilots and funding partners. As youth unemployment and market development are priorities for these towns they are very interested, but the difficulties faced will be much steeper than in Canterbury.
Student Makers' has been shortlisted by Canterbury Festival for their ‘Prosper’ funding programme, to develop the performance side of the market and bring wider cultural experiences to the streets. The project has also applied for Lottery Funding.