Business & Economy
Young Teesside entrepreneurs test business ideas
March 29, 2018
Budding entrepreneurs got a taste of what it’s like to run their own business thanks to a pop-up shop event at Middlesbrough College
Powered by Natwest’s Entrepreneurial Spark programme, the event was just one activity being held as part of the College’s Enterprise Week.
Students from across the College were given the opportunity to set up a ‘pop-up shop’ and given free rein to come up with ideas for their businesses – as well as keep the profits.
Shops included One Stop Drink Shop, a milkshake bar, and Dainty Delights, a vintage-inspired tearoom selling homemade cupcakes.
Abi Saunders, 17, was inspired by gothic and steampunk culture when she set up Raven Designs, selling made-to-order clothing.
Abi, who is currently studying BTEC Art and Design, said: “I’m always trying to push myself and I thought this was a really good opportunity to try something new.
“My mum has her own textiles range so I’m used to trade shows and craft fairs but this is the first time I’ve been able to branch out on my own and it’s been really fun.”
Lorna Law, Advantage Coach at Middlesbrough College, said: “The event is an opportunity for the students to test the waters and see if their businesses could be viable.
“It’s a safe space to try things out and learn about the potential benefits and pitfalls of launching their own businesses.”
David Harris, centre manager for Dundas Market, was also on hand to give advice to the budding entrepreneurs, as well as inviting some to take part in the Dundas Youth Market.
David said: “It’s encouraging to see so many students getting involved and being creative with their pop-up shops.
“There are some really promising ideas and I’ve invited a few students to take the next step and set up a stall at the Dundas Youth Market.”
The winning entrepreneurial idea was I Do Frames, run by Jade Mcmenamin, 17, and Katelynn Newman, 19. The pair were selling their range of personalised gifts and timed the launch of their new website to coincide with the event.
Jade said: “It’s been amazing, we’ve done so much better than we expected.
“We’re hoping to turn I Do Frames into a fully-fledged business so this has been great experience.”
The Enterprise Week programme also included a talk from Teesside social entrepreneur Andy Preston, who gave students tips on setting up social enterprises.