TestTown 2015 will see ten towns from every corner of the UK host an enterprise challenge in town centres between July and November, with each town challenge tailored to local economic needs and the deadline for applications for the Derbyshire market is Monday, November 9.
Heanor has been named one of 10 UK towns that has won the right to take part in one of Britain’s biggest regeneration challenges - to help create a new wave of responsible young entrepreneurs, lower unemployment and simultaneously boost local regeneration.
Heanor’s TestTown activity will see the Heanor Traders Association offering a youth enterprise market, on Saturday, November 14, event to encourage a number of young people to trial their business and bring their product to market. The young people from 16 – 30 years of age will also be offered training and mentoring to ensure that they are business-ready.
Councillor Kevin Buttery, Amber Valley Borough Council’s regeneration portfolio holder, said: “This is fantastic news for Heanor. We hope the event will enhance the town’s enterprise culture and provide a real boost to enterprising young people in the area. We also hope the scheme will help to encourage property owners and agents to utilise their vacant properties in innovative ways to support the town centre and bring dditional people into the town centre to support the event and town centre businesses.”
TestTown has become the UK and Ireland’s biggest accelerator programme for young entrepreneurs with fresh ideas for rejuvenating the country’s town centres.
In the last two years, TestTown has helped inject £200,000 into start-ups, supported 150 entrepreneurs and helped get 45 new local businesses off the ground.
One lucky prize winner will be offered complimentary space to launch and develop their fledgling business in the Enterprise Emporium, and a week-long opportunity to promote their business. The application was submitted in partnership with Amber Valley Borough Council who will continue to assist the project through business support assistance.
With official unemployment figures from the UK Government showing that the number of young people is still proportionately much higher than for older generations, TestTown has been a way of encouraging young people to demonstrate the validity of their ideas.
Jim Metcalfe, TestTown Programme Leader at the Carnegie UK Trust, said: “Conditions are still tough for town economies across the country, and youth unemployment is becoming a systemic challenge. TestTown is all about helping people to harness entrepreneurial flare at the local level. It also provides an opportunity to connect town centre entrepreneurs with the challenges facing the high street, making them real partners and contributors to improving local communities.”