Marketplace Wales offers trading boost for entrepreneurs as Christmas countdown gets underway

The countdown to Christmas starts this week for a number of businesses and entrepreneurs who have successfully pitched for a trading slot at Christmas markets around Wales.

They are benefiting from the Welsh Government’s Business Wales Marketplace Wales initiative which offers opportunities for Wales’ SME’s and micro businesses to ‘test trade’ in street markets, providing them with valuable face-to-face selling experience and a chance to promote their products and services.

It certainly worked wonders for Cardiff fashion accessories designer Lauren Catris who described her experience at Cardiff market last year as an invaluable opportunity.

Lauren specialises in designing and creating bespoke hand-made 100% silk scarves and gentleman’s pocket handkerchiefs and had only recently launched her business, Lauren Catris Designs.

Lauren said:

“It really helped me to build the Lauren Catris brand and put my stamp on the market. It was after Marketplace Wales that things snowballed – the positive feedback I had was amazing. The Lauren Catris brand was suddenly out there and being recognised.”

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said:

“Marketplace Wales has proved very successful and gives young businesses valuable trading experience and an opportunity to promote and showcase their products to a much wider customer base.

“It forms part of the comprehensive package of support from Business Wales to help entrepreneurs and young enterprises set up and grow their businesses across Wales.”

The entrepreneurs will take a market stall for up to 5 days in each of the following locations:

•Cardiff – 12 Nov to 05 December

•Portmeirion – 05 and 06 December

•Wrexham – 10 December.

A comprehensive training day is held with the market organisers beforehand, followed by a bespoke social media workshop where all participants learn how to promote their businesses and activity before, during and after their market experience. Business advisors and Big Ideas Wales Role Models are on hand from the very beginning of the process to also help and support them.

Business Wales also promote the project on social media as part of the Autumn National campaign.

Website: www.business.wales.gov.uk/shoplocal (external link).

Twitter: #ChristmasMarket / #shoplocal

Launched as a pilot during Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2011, it has gone from strength to strength with more than 140 businesses supported to attend numerous markets across Wales.