The next generation of brands and businesses entering the market, street food and festival industry are vital in keeping our marketplaces thriving and vibrant.
Across the UK and Europe, a common problem afflicting the markets industry is the average age of traders and shoppers alike, estimated to be well above 50 years old. At Marketti we recognise that new blood is essential to continuing innovation and sustainability in the industry and in June 2018, through Visa sponsorship, we were delighted to work with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Street Trading Team on the New Youthquake project.
New Youthquake started in 2017 as a result of a national call for market operators to encourage traders between the ages of 18–30 to enter the industry. Through the national Love Your Local Market campaign, which I ran at the time on behalf of the National Association of British Market Authorities, we were briefed to motivate the 1200 markets taking part in the campaign to create 100 youth focussed events. Operators rose to the challenge and markets aimed specifically at young people, that also included elements of performance, so vital in creating an experiential retail environment, went down a storm.
It is a credit to the industry that this initiative has now been truly embedded in the role of operators both public and private. The Teenage Market, started in Stockport by two brothers in partnership with their local authority (LA), is now a model that has been licensed to over 33 LA’s across the UK, including Northern Ireland. The first of these was adopted by Salisbury City Council in Wiltshire and working in partnership with local schools and youth services, saw over a hundred-young people signed up to the platform in the first year. A programme of highly successful quarterly events was co-designed with these stakeholders and some of the youngsters have gone on to trade at the twice weekly Charter Market and popular Christmas Market.
The National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) also runs a programme to encourage youngsters into the industry, having set up a National Youth Market (NYM) and this has now been rolled out to include Regional heats. The main NYM event now culminates in the Autumn at the tourist hotspot of Stratford Upon Avon, where all the regional finalists are entered to trade in this high traffic area. Of all these schemes, training is embedded to give the youngsters the necessary skills to equip them to succeed, extending to advice on branding, social media, finance and business planning.
Consultation on the New Youthquake project started early in 2018 with a wide range of stakeholders from the local community attending a co-design workshop and full details of the methodology used and subsequent actions can be downloaded below in the New Youthquake Report. The result of the co-design process saw sixteen local organisations come together to produce a two-week programme of events for sixty-seven entrepreneurs and performers, predominantly from the West London area, culminating in the New Youthquake Nano-Festival on July 7th.
The market itself saw twenty-seven young entrepreneurs occupy stalls alongside four of the partner organisations and a local barber shop. In the preceding weeks during the festival programme, the Marketti team carried out a series of skills training workshops with the young entrepreneurs involved, assisting them with developing a professional online presence, social media training and uploading their business profiles to the Marketti platform. Our Marketing team then promoted the young businesses involved to help raise awareness of the event and the range of products on offer on the day.
The ethos of financial inclusion is central to the Marketti model and working with the young entrepreneurs involved in New Youthquake has been a rewarding experience as we see them fully embrace the platform and what it has to offer. With the perception of markets being somewhat behind the times, they were excited an app had been designed specifically for the industry they wanted to test trade their products on, that not only looked slick and showcased their designs but was embedded with all the tools they needed to run their business from any young person’s favourite item, their phone or tablet.
We also supported one of the projects on the day, The Fiver Stall. Troy Howell-Baptiste is a local social worker whose clients include ex-offenders. Through his Fiver Stall he provides them with the skills, training and support needed to launch their own micro enterprise and two of his clients joined him for NYQ selling cut flowers and freshly made juices. The young men involved got a lot of feedback on their products and the self-esteem gained from the experience has seen a more long-term project, with weekly training and on-site selling taking place on Portobello Road Market in partnership with a local charity and the Market Team.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Visa in supporting this important project that is so vital in promoting the next generation of entrepreneurs. Learnings from the festival have now been translated into a report and book that can be downloaded below. We are keen to see this learning rolled out to other London market operators through the London Street Trading Benchmarking Group who will be sharing the outcomes over the coming months to encourage wider adoption in the capital.
Click here to view the book of the NYQ traders > bit.ly/NYQ18book
— Ellie Gill, Marketti Founder