Heanor to compete in Britain's biggest town regeneration challenge

Heanor has been named one of 10 UK towns that has won the right to take part in one of Britain’s biggest regeneration challenges - to help create a new wave of responsible young entrepreneurs, lower unemployment and simultaneously boost local regeneration.

TestTown 2015 will see 10 towns from every corner of the UK host an enterprise challenge in town centres between July and November, with each town challenge tailored to local economic needs. Finalists from each town will then come together to compete in a national final, with the winning business awarded the title of ‘UK Towns Entrepreneur of the Year’, and a £10K Investment.

Heanor’s TestTown activity will see the Heanor Traders Association offering a youth enterprise market event to encourage a number of young people to trial their business and bring their product to market.  The young people from 16 – 30 years of age will also be offered training and mentoring to ensure that they are business-ready.

One lucky prize winner will be offered complimentary space to launch and develop their fledgling business in the Enterprise Emporium, and a week-long opportunity to promote their business. The application was submitted in partnership with Amber Valley Borough Council who will continue to assist the project through business support assistance.

TestTown has become the UK and Ireland’s biggest accelerator programme for young entrepreneurs with fresh ideas for rejuvenating the country’s town centres.  In the last two years, TestTown has helped inject £200,000 into start-ups, supported 150 entrepreneurs and helped get 45 new local businesses off the ground.

With official unemployment figures from the UK Government showing that the number of young people is still proportionately much higher than for older generations, TestTown has been a way of encouraging young people to demonstrate the validity of their ideas.

Jim Metcalfe, TestTown Programme Leader at the Carnegie UK Trust, said: “Conditions are still tough for town economies across the country, and youth unemployment is becoming a systemic challenge. TestTown is all about helping people to harness entrepreneurial flare at the local level. It also provides an opportunity to connect town centre entrepreneurs with the challenges facing the high street, making them real partners and contributors to improving local communities.

“We are looking forward to monitoring the results of this year’s programme and wish Heanor the very best of luck with their event.”

Commented Amber Valley Borough Council’s Regeneration Portfolio Holder, Cllr Kevin Buttery: “This is fantastic news for Heanor. We hope the event will enhance the town’s enterprise culture and provide a real boost to enterprising young people in the area. We also hope the scheme will help to encourage property owners and agents to utilise their vacant properties in innovative ways to support the town centre and bring additional people into the town centre to support the event and town centre buinesses.”

More on TestTown and applying to take part in an event can be found here: www.testtown.org.uk. Follow the progress on Twitter and join in the town centre debate @TestTown2015

The Test Town Market is scheduled for Saturday October 17th.  For further information on the project and to find out how to get involved contact:

Website: www.heanortradersassociation.co.uk
Email: heanortraders@gmail.com
Tel: 07948421503
Facebook: facebook.com/HeanorTradersAssociation

For Regeneration Projects: Contact Joanne Bamford, Town Centres Development Officer, Amber Valley Borough Council on 01773 841485 or email joanne.bamford@ambervalley.gov.uk

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