15 Mar 2018
Real ale, original watercolour prints, designer loafers and a vermin control business were some of the businesses promoted by students-turned-entrepreneurs at the third Cirencester Youth Market.
Burgeoning commercial enterprises created by present and former Royal Agricultural University students were selling their products at the vibrant event at the Market Place on 14 March. This year’s market featured fifteen stalls in total presenting an eclectic mix of the town’s talented entrepreneurs, using the market to promote their businesses, gain customer feedback and grow their confidence and ability in sales.
Featuring food, drink, crafts and services the market is organised by Cirencester Town Council and the E4 Group (Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester College, Deer Park School and Kingshill School) which supports young enterprise.
Sponsored by Lumley Insurance, the event also included live performances from Deer Park School and Cirencester College Performing Arts students.
Katy Duke, Head of Enterprise at the Royal Agricultural University, said: “Seeing the students' ideas go from the concept stage to production to point of sale in the centre of our community at the Market place, where so many people came along to support, is inspiring.
“This is a fantastic initiative giving the town’s entrepreneurs a platform to develop their business acumen and create commercially viable enterprises.”
Among the growing businesses created by RAU students and exhibiting on Wednesday were Cotswold Hills White Wine, Muddy Wellies Craft Ale and Cider, and CJ Lamb Pest and Vermin Control.
Jen Winnett’s business, Jen Winnett Art, is a collection of colourful prints and greetings cards produced from sustainable materials.
The 23-year-old, who studied International Equine and Agricultural Business Management at RAU said: “It has been amazing, with lots of support from the community. The cards I sell carry my own artwork and are produced on sustainable cards, using vegetable-based ink. I want to bring colourful, affordable and original art into people’s homes.”
Ten per cent of the profits from Jen’s cards go to Prostate Cancer UK and Target Ovarian Cancer UK.
The entrepreneur, from Elkstone, Gloucestershire, who is now building a total of three young businesses added: “It’s important to create social enterprises that re-invest in the community. This event shows that young people are a force for social good as well as just making an economic contribution.”
Second year RAU students Harry Devlin, 22, and Gerard Salvin, 20, used the market as a pre-launch for their business which will produce quality shoes with a ‘quirky colourful style’.
Speaking at the event Gerard, from Durham said: “We’re hoping to launch at the end of April or early May. Devlin and Salvin shoes are loafers with a quirky twist. Last year we went through the University’s Grand Idea scheme and came third. We won £1000 but just as importantly we got help with things like legal advice, conference calls, and trademarking our name.”
Tara Dickinson-Barry, of sponsors Lumley Insurance, said: "We are delighted to have sponsored the E4 Cirencester Youth Market this year. 2018 is an especially poignant year for Lumleys as we celebrate our 25th anniversary, and we are proud to have kept Cirencester as our base for the last quarter of a century. It is vital to encourage young entrepreneurs to not only stay, but to thrive in the area and continue to develop new businesses in Cirencester. We look forward to offering our continued support to these entrepreneurs, and many more with the launch of the Growth Hub."