Bridgend selected as top town for young entrepreneurs’ competition

Bridgend town centre is celebrating after becoming the only town in Wales to secure a place in a UK-wide competition to inspire a new generation of young entrepreneurs.

Following a successful bid by Bridgend College in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council, Bridgend town centre will host the Welsh heat of TestTown 2015 – an enterprise challenge which offers innovative young people the chance to test out their business ideas for real.

The Bridgend TestTown challenge, which is aimed at 16 to 30 year-olds, will be held over four days from 17 – 21 November and is organised to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015 (16 – 22 November).

The competition will see a pop-up youth enterprise market being set up in Bridgend town centre, giving young entrepreneurs the opportunity to sell and showcase their products and services.

Ruth Rowe, Enterprise Officer at Bridgend College, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Bridgend town centre has been chosen to host the Welsh heat of TestTown 2015! This is a real coup for Bridgend and the surrounding areas and a fantastic opportunity for young people across South Wales take part in an initiative to help nurture their business skills.”

As part of the initiative, workshops will be delivered by local retailers and entrepreneurs to TestTown participants on 17 and 18 November, followed by a three-day youth enterprise market from 19 – 21 November in Caroline Street, Bridgend town centre, which will offer a prime spot for young entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services in the run-up to the 2015 Christmas period.

In return for their efforts, TestTown 2015 participants will gain valuable business experience and will also be signposted to a range of business support organisations including Business in Focus, Big Ideas Wales, Kick Start grant programme, Enterprise Facilitation support and Business Wales in order to progress their business ideas.

The winner of the Welsh heat will go through to the UK TestTown Grand Final in early 2016 where participants will have a chance of winning £10,000 towards their new business venture.

Former Bridgend College student Ed Shorney was a finalist in TestTown 2014, held in Rhyl.

Ed, who is the Director of GoRookie Ltd, an apprenticeship matching service, said: “I entered my business into the Carnegie TestTown 2014 competition as I thought it was an ideal opportunity to raise the profile of my new venture. I took part in the Welsh heat in Rhyl, which was an amazing experience in itself. There were lots of excellent business ideas there, I never dreamt I’d go through to the grand final in Cambridge, so I was thrilled when I learned that I would have that opportunity too!

“TestTown is an excellent opportunity for any young person to develop their business model, meet other young entrepreneurs and gain valuable advice from experts in business.”

Speaking at a recent event at Bridgend College, Dale Williams, Director of Yolk Recruitment Ltd and a passionate supporter of young entrepreneurs, said: “This competition is a brilliant concept designed to develop young entrepreneurs. It’s a great platform for young people to show the passion and drive they have for their business ideas. The opportunities it can offer are excellent and it could really help young enterprises take off. Good luck to all the participants in the Bridgend competition in November – I’ll be interested to see who goes through to the grand final next year!”
Bridgend County Borough Council Leader Mel Nott, OBE said: “This is excellent news for the county borough. Bringing the Welsh heats of TestTown 2015 here to Bridgend town centre is a wonderful opportunity for young entrepreneurs. The enterprise market will not only showcase new products and services, but it will also provide a welcome boost to local trade within the town centre itself.”

If you’re interested in taking part in Bridgend TestTown 2015, please email:TestTownBridgend@bridgend.ac.uk for an application form. The deadline for applications is 21 September 2015. For more information on TestTown 2015, please call 01656 302382.

To find out the latest updates on Bridgend TestTown 2015 follow @TTBridgend on Twitter, or like the Bridgend TestTown page atfacebook.com/testtownrbridgend2015