YOUNG PEOPLE with big business ideas filled a Sunderland shopping centre on Sunday (24 March) for a charity’s first ever trade fair.
Young Enterprise, a national charity which supports young people in setting up their own companies, teamed up with Sunderland’s the Bridges shopping centre to showcase a range of businesses led by young people.
Seven teams from across Tyne and Wear and County Durham held stands at the fair, where they had the opportunity to trade with the general public and get feedback on their companies from local business people.
And while products ranged from wearable charging bracelets to original resin artwork, it was Seaclaimed, from Westfield School, Newcastle which was awarded the Bridges Best Company 2019 Award, for their idea to sell products created from upcycled fishing nets found on local beaches.
Molly Oldroyd, the MD at Seaclaimed, said: “From the start we wanted to make a sustainable business that would make a difference worldwide.
“We have learned so much from our journey: although our business is small, our ambition is big and we would like to thank Young Enterprise for giving us this opportunity.”
Andy Bradley, centre director at the Bridges, believes the trade fair was a great success.
“There was a wide range of products on show at the centre and it was fantastic to see a group of young people who were so passionate about what they had created,” said Andy.
“Young Enterprise is doing a brilliant job of giving North East young people skills they can carry forward into their further studies and work and we are thrilled to have been able to host them at the Bridges.
“Seaclaimed have created an amazing product with sustainability at its core and I wish them all the best for the future.”
This academic year, Young Enterprise has supported students in schools and colleges across the country to set up more than 1000 companies, making every decision from company name and product to creating a business plan.
Ruth Watson, Young Enterprise area manager, said: “We are delighted to have been offered the opportunity to hold our first ever trade fair at the Bridges.
“There is no better way for our student companies to gain invaluable customer service skills and promote their business to the general public and today has been a great experience for all of them.
“We are grateful to the students and school staff, judges and the team at the Bridges for all of their efforts in making this event a success.”
Following the trade fair, students will have the opportunity to attend one of the charity’s area finals, where they will be invited to submit a company report, create a trade stand and a prepare a four-minute presentation for judging.