By Daniel Hunter

The Federation of Small Businesses teamed up with education charity Young Enterprise and a Manchester school to give young entrepreneurs a taste of life as market traders to mark Small Business Saturday last weekend.

The not-for-profit business support organisation sponsored a Christmas themed pop up market in Manchester city centre’s Northern Quarter, where two teams of sixth formers from Manchester High School for Girls sold hand crafted merchandise.

Young Enterprise, which promotes entrepreneurial spirit to youngsters, has been working with the school since the beginning of the term to help them create a product that can be marketed and sold at a profit. Two were chosen to bring their products to the market on Saturday as part of the celebrations for Small Business Saturday, and where the Federation had rented stalls.

Simon Edmondson, Regional Chairman for the FSB in Manchester & North Cheshire, said: “This was a great chance for the sixth formers taking part to get a taste of what it’s really like to run a small business. It was a great tie-in event with Small Business Saturday too, which is about celebrating the importance of small businesses to the economy.

“The teams taking part seemed to really enjoy themselves, and all of them took something away from the event - and not just aching feet,” he added.

Manchester High School for Girls Year 12 student, Jyotsna Randev (pictured left), 16, from Hale, who was part of a team selling airline-compliant ‘his and hers’ travel toiletries, said: “The whole process required a lot of planning; much more than we thought we’d need. Coming up with the right product to sell was really difficult, but eventually we all agreed and got on with it.

“There were lots of hidden issues that we just hadn’t thought about, such as getting the product to market, providing bags for customers who purchased from us, to organising a float to enable us to give change to our customers. It really made us all think like small business owners, but the main thing that the experience has taught us, is that running a business is a lot of hard work.”

Fellow team member, Bramhall’s Sarah Merry, also 16 and in Year 12, added: “Dealing with the public was a really interesting experience. We had some shoppers say they didn’t like the product, but most who stopped to chat said they thought it was a really good idea and were interested in what we were doing. The whole experience with Young Enterprise has been really helpful for us, and we’ve learned a lot about things such as market research and customer service skills.”

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