Start Up Sales Experience

As the Prime Minister urges school leavers who do not go to university to start an apprenticeship, another suggested option for young people under the age of 24 is to start their own business.

While industry body the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) said last week that there is no better way for entrepreneurs to learn how to buy and sell than by running a stall.

Citing the prime examples of Marks & Spencer, who famously piled it high and sold it cheap, the NMTF has launched a start-up scheme called First Pitch, which is encouraging budding entrepreneurs from 16 upwards to bring their products to one of the country’s 1,400 markets.

First Pitch has won £50,000 of backing from the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Youth Enterprise programme, enabling it to provide incentives to successful applicants who will start with a free five-day trial in May.

From those a 100-strong shortlist will be selected and they have a year to make their mark, with help from mentors who know market trading inside out and from co-stallholders.

Given the current focus on locally sourced produce through cookery programmes, adverts and Mary Portas’s review on ways to revive ailing high streets, the likelihood will be that many of the aspiring stallholders will be selling food.

However, according to the NMTF, running a stall and having to respond quickly to an ever-changing environment is the perfect place to learn fundamental business skills.

First Pitch entry is open until this Friday, 15 March and the 100 short listed entrepreneurs will trade for free during Love Your Local Market, a festival of UK markets held between 15 and 29 May, after which the winners will continue to trade for a further 12 months.

London accountant, Russell Black specialises in offering accountancy, audit and taxation advice to business start-ups.

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