Young entrepreneurs set for free trial at town's market

Dereham Market Place. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Dereham Market Place. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Entrepreneurial young people hoping to try their hand at market trading in Dereham are set to benefit from a proposed town council scheme.

At a Tuesday meeting of the council’s markets and buildings committee, independent councillor Amy-Jane Brooks pitched the idea of allowing young people aged 18 to 25 to trade in the marketplace for up to three months without paying a fee to the council. 

“It’s something I’ve borrowed from what Swaffham Town Council has done,” said Ms Brooks. 

The motion to declare a climate emergency was tabled by Dereham town councillor Amy-Jane Brooks. Pic

The idea was proposed by independent councillor Amy-Jane Brooks - Credit: Archant

“It’s this whole idea of entrepreneurship… And getting young people to maybe try out something to see if it’s viable before they then start paying the current rates for market traders.”

She added: “Some young people, they’re not lucky enough to come from families who can help them financially start up something and sometimes they might not be able to get a bank loan to help [them] start up, so anything to encourage young people to give things a go is only a good thing in my opinion.”

The council currently operates a 12-week discount scheme for all new traders. For the first four weeks traders pay full rent, for the next four weeks there is a 50pc discount and for the last four weeks, there is a 25pc discount - which aims to incentivise market traders to stay long enough to build up a good customer base.

Town clerk Tony Needham said: “What you wouldn’t want would be a [new] trader coming in, not paying any rent, trading in the same commodity as somebody else and undercutting them, because that would then upset them, but if it’s done in a way that ensures whatever they’re doing isn’t in competition with other traders, then I don’t think there’d be any gripes.”

Dereham town clerk Tony Needham said the keyfobs would cost about £1,000. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Town clerk Tony Needham warned of stalls with similar products undercutting existing traders.

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Following the basics of the Swaffham scheme, the Dereham councillors agreed to a proposal in which the three month free trial would be limited to just three young traders on a one-off basis. 

Each of the traders would have to apply for the trial, with successful applicants possibly picked after the new year.

Mr Needham pointed out that markets typically struggle in the winter anyway, so a springtime start for the successful applicants to the free trial could work well.  

The motion was recommended for approval at full council in September.