Coleraine Borough Council has congratulated the five regional finalists of 2014 Coleraine TestTown who will compete at the TestTown United Kingdom National Final in the autumn.
The finalists’ new retail ideas will come under scrutiny in the Diamond Centre, Coleraine, next week.
Local shoppers will be able to see and try out the ideas in pop up shops as part of the UK’s biggest initiative hosted by the Carnegie Trust aimed at breathing new life into UK high streets.
The five finalists are Gareth McKnight, Scales North East Exotics; Stephen Logue, Oatsogood; Ben Wallace, Inside Out; Scott McKinney, Inner Delight and Aine McGuickian, The Little Herbalista.
Mayor, David Harding said, “I am really looking forward to seeing all the finalists next week as they compete within Coleraine.
“I would encourage everyone to come along on Friday and Saturday and support these young entrepreneurs in this unique project”.
TestTown, delivered by the Carnegie UK Trust offers young people the opportunity to bring a new business idea to life, while simultaneously revitalising the UK’s town centres.
The competition was open to all 16 to 30 year olds across the country and received over four hundred entries from throughout Northern Ireland.
Jim Metcalfe, TestTown Programme Leader at the Carnegie UK Trust, said, “We are looking forward to a great event in Coleraine. Last year’s final attracted over £10,000 in increased revenues for the host town and consumer footfall was doubled. We see no reason that couldn’t be repeated in Coleraine.
“The standard of entries was exceptionally high and it shows that not only is entrepreneurial spirit still in strong supply but also that young people still see a future for our town. What we need to do is to back them and make it easier for them to make their businesses a reality, which is exactly what TestTown is all about. We hope the people of Coleraine will get behind their regional finalists”.
The winner of the regional final in Coleraine will progress to the national final, which is to be held in historic Cambridge. Other regional finals for TestTown will be held from June to August in Manchester, Middlesbrough, Rhyl, Kirkintilloch, Bury St Edmunds and Perth. Regional winners will also secure £500 start-up funding for their idea.
Terry Robb, Head Business Centre, Ulster Bank, and supporter of the TestTown programme, said, “We are delighted to support Carnegie UK Trust’s TestTown project as it is rolled out in our high streets up and down the country.
“We have seen some excellent business ideas created by young entrepreneurs which will enhance our town centres. I wish all the competitors every success with their new businesses and look forward to seeing their ideas in action”.
Follow the progress on Twitter and join in the town centre debate @TestTown2014.