Young entrepreneurs with a strong business idea are being encouraged to apply for free stall places across Stockton towns as part of the Young Trader of the Year competition.
Stockton is set to host one of the heats for the annual event run by the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) which aims to find and support the next generation of market traders.
Taking place across the week of Monday May 10, the competition will be hosted by Stockton Council, its youth movement Bright Minds Big Futures and the NMTF in three of the borough’s town centres, Billingham, Stockton and Thornaby, alongside their famous markets.
Traders will be scored by a panel of judges on their product quality, stall set up, use of promotion and customer service.
The winner and runner up of this heat will go through to the north east regional final in Newcastle on Saturday, July 24.
The national final takes place in Stratford upon Avon in August, with the ultimate winner receiving a cash prize and the publicity platform from which to build their market trading business.
Residents and visitors are being urged to come along and support the young stallholders in May, while enjoying a great local shopping experience in the heart of our towns.
The Young Traders Market competition is open to anyone under the age of 30, with under 16s being asked to be accompanied by an adult.
Richard Beddard, market manager at Stockton Council, said: “We are so pleased to be hosting this heat across our markets in three of our town centres.
“The council has a long and proud history of supporting start-up businesses and by offering stalls to traders of the future we are extending our commitment to ensure they have the help they need to either start, grow or locate a business.
“We’re encouraging budding new business owners to join us, whether it’s food, arts and crafts, handmade gifts or traditional retail.
“We’re taking applications from any young person across the Borough with a great business idea or concept for a market stall, so please spread the word!”
Joe Harrison, CEO of the NMTF, said: “I cannot emphasise how much we need young people to become part of the great family of retail markets which so many shoppers rely on to give them great products at a competitive price.
“Each time we have come out of Covid-19 lockdowns we have seen people flocking to their markets, particularly the outdoor ones.
“These young people will help markets not merely to survive but thrive in our modern retail environment.”
Young Traders Market Competition will run across from Monday May 10 until Saturday May 15.