Horsham District young entrepreneurs hit Horsham town on Small Business Saturday to trade local

On 1 December, Small Business Saturday, young people from schools across Horsham and Mid Sussex braved wet conditions to be part of the Christmas markets organised by Food Rocks South in Horsham’s Carfax.

The Young Enterprise Trade Fair, which is held in Horsham Carfax each year, is a chance for young business companies to sell their products and make a success of their businesses.

Students from Horsham’s Millais and Collyer’s College, and from Mid Sussex’s Imberhorne School and Hurstpierpoint College, battled it out for Best Trade Fair Company, with Collyer’s College winning on the day.

The winning company is called STIX, and they were selling their own design mobile phone charger plug ID stickers to prevent family arguments over who owns which charger. The other companies were selling a variety of products, ranging from Eco friendly bottles to wax candles in antique teacups, and from a healthy eating online food magazine to decorated dream jars.

Despite an early soaking as the companies prepared their stalls, all students showed resilience and enthusiasm in setting up their stands.
The Trade Fair competition, judged by local business owner, Sharon Walker of Cakes by Sharon Walker, is part of a bigger competition nationally, with Young Enterprise having helped young people develop their entrepreneurial skills for over 50 years.

The companies were judged on the design and presentation of their stand, their knowledge of the business, quality and originality of their products, and their customer handling skills.

Commenting on the trading day, Horsham District Council Cabinet member for the Local Economy Cllr Gordon Lindsay said: “I was delighted that so many young business people turned out  in Horsham’s busy town centre on Saturday, particularly as it was Small Business Saturday, which is such an important trading day for our many small independent businesses in and around Horsham.

“My congratulations go out to the young traders from Young Enterprise and I am pleased they had such a successful day.

“Many of our local businesses have come from this background and they can vouch for the benefits the Young Enterprise programme provides for local schools and their students.

“Thank you to everyone who came along to shop local on the day.”

Sharon Walker found it difficult to decide on an outright winner: “This year’s trade fair was of the highest standard and the most difficult to judge by far. Each company scored highly in different areas and I was particularly impressed with the commitment by students to environmental awareness.”

The winning team won £50 to reinvest in their company. All companies now have Christmas to prepare for the next phase of the competition; the Dragon’s Den style Board presentations towards the end of January, which will be held at Horsham District Council’s offices. The area finals will be held on 20 March and the winner of the best company will go through to the county finals soon after. The whole competition culminates in a national final in the summer.

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