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Warrington Market hosts Young Traders Market

Warrington Market has hosted the largest ever local heat of the Young Traders Market, in the nine years of the competition’s lifetime.

 The event, which took place on Saturday 5 June, doubled in size from the previous event held in 2019. The market welcomed 45 local business owners, aged between 16 and 30, to Time Square for the first ever outdoor event hosted by the market in its new home due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Over 5,000 people came down to support the young local business owners as well as enjoying some fantastic musical talent on a live stage hosted by Warrington Music.

The Young Traders Market scheme is a national competition hosted by the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF), which was set up to encourage young business owners across the country to utilise markets as a viable trading space, while searching for the next National Young Trader of the Year.

This title was previously won in 2018 by Warrington Market’s Rob Leicester of Warrington Fruit & Veg who was part of this year’s judging panel, alongside Christine Ditchfield of Warrington’s 3 Pugs Gin and the council’s cabinet member for economic development and innovation, Cllr Tom Jennings.

Cllr Jennings said: “The Young Traders Market is a great initiative and I was so pleased we were able to welcome this popular event back to Warrington this year. Our successful local heat saw the level of competition at an all-time high. We are very proud to have been asked by the NMTF to host the regional final for the North West for the second year.

“It was wonderful to see so many talented young people showcase their talents and take the opportunity to trade at the event. The standard of products and services on offer was truly fantastic. I’m really looking forward to seeing the work of so many talented young people in one place when we welcome finalists from across the region back to Warrington next month.”

The judges were so impressed by the high standard and quality of all the businesses that were showcased on the day that a total of 12 young entrepreneurs progressed to the next round of the competition, the highest amount of traders put through from any local heat across the North West.

The four category winners on the day were URURA, GeeArte Makes, Rub & Roll, and Archchis. Also making it through to the Regional Final are Entwined Kokedama, Kingswood Candle Co, Threaded Needle, Ellie Francesca Design, Loom & Jute Living, Mint Green Penguin, Trufflicious and Sweet Stephella – all of which were awarded Highly Commended in their respective categories.

Georgina Atkinson of GeeArte Makes, a macramé homeware business, was also crowned Warrington’s Young Trader of the Year after setting up her business during lockdown last year as a way to keep her busy, soon turning her hobby into a thriving business.

She said: “When I first heard about the opportunity to get involved in the Warrington Young Traders Market I was so excited and jumped at the chance. It was my first ever market stall and it was such an amazing day. I met so many passionate, creative, like-minded people and it was so nice to talk to customers about my products and how I make them.

“The event was organised really well, everyone was so supportive of one another. I still can’t believe I won! Warrington Market is a great addition to the town centre and I’m hoping to be able to host some macramé workshops in the market in the near future, but for now bring on the Regional Final!”

Joe Harrison, Chief Executive of the NMTF visited the heat in Warrington and was blown away by the standard on show.

He said: “What a great visit it was to Warrington’s local heat – to say it truly blew me away when I walked up from the car park is an understatement. The venue, together with the most incredible array of Young Traders, is the most the NMTF’s Young Trader Programme has ever had at any of the local events over the last nine years.

“Each and every one of the businesses involved were brilliant, with some truly unique products on offer and with the new market in full swing as a backdrop, it was a terrific sight to see.

“We’re experiencing an increase in interest at a lot of the local events this year, which is an even bigger demonstration of what great young entrepreneurial talent the UK has on offer, which, in turn, is a great boost of enthusiasm for UK markets and their future. We can’t wait to return to Warrington for the Regional Final next month.”

The 12 Warrington businesses will now compete with the other local heat winners from across the region at the North West Regional Final, which is taking place in Warrington on Saturday 3 July, from 9am to 5pm.

For more information, visit warrington.gov.uk/market or follow @warringtonmkt on social media.