Rhyl Community Market to help budding entrepreneurs
A market is offering free stalls for people wanting to start up businesses in a bid to encourage local entrepreneurs in one of Wales' most deprived areas.
Rhyl Community Market is offering 10 pitches for up to eight weeks at a time for budding business people, community groups and charities.
The aim is for them to build up enough capital to develop their businesses.
Those behind the project hope it will help start community enterprises.
Denbigh Voluntary Services Council said it was helping people to help themselves.
End Quote Sandy Williams DVSC
Social enterprise a really good way of creating jobs and entrepreneurship, more so than the private route”
It hopes the new stall holders will offer something different to the outdoor market, which is run on Thursdays and Saturdays, in the town's high street, selling unique, local goods.
In turn, it says the market would act as a good place to start a business, with help offered to arrange a deal for a permanent pitch at the market in the long term.
"Who knows, after building up in the market, they could then open a unit or a shop," said Sandy Williams, of the Denbigh Voluntary Services Council (DVSC).
"It is a low-risk way of trying out a business idea and we would then work with them to support them and point them in the right direction if they want to carry on after the eight weeks."
View from the market stall
Sheba Plumpton, managing director of Oriel Rhyl Create Gallery, has been running one of the free stalls.
"We actually have a shop in the precinct in Rhyl, as well as our gallery, but coming out on the market has opened up new doors.
"Not everyone goes to the part of town where our shop is and some people think galleries aren't for them. But being on the market has helped people see what we're all about.
"We are selling everything from oil paintings and wooden ornaments to knitwear and glassware. They are all hand-made by our members, many of whom are disabled.
"People who have come to the stall have been very positive. We have had quite a variety of people who wouldn't normally see our work.
"We have done quite well in terms of sales and have sold quite a lot.
"I'm hoping after eight weeks of having the free stall we'll be able to get a pitch in the market."
The free stalls initiative - which is being run by the DVSC on behalf of Denbighshire council - launched nearly two weeks ago.
It plans to work with further education colleges to encourage business students to take up the offer of a stall.
It has also had a lot of interest from social enterprises, community groups and charities. Ms Williams said they were looking for new ways to make money following cuts to their grants.
"There's a lot of money being cut and some of the charities might no longer automatically get money to help deliver services," said Ms Williams, DVSC's social enterprise officer.
"And social enterprises - which are businesses that return profits back into the organisation or community - are looking to see how they can be more innovative in the current economy. This scheme is really needed."
She said that because Rhyl was quite a deprived area, many people were often unwilling to invest in the town. "Social enterprise a really good way of creating jobs and entrepreneurship, more so than the private route," she said.
"In some areas, like Liverpool, social enterprises have played a big part in regeneration and that could be the case with Rhyl.
"Social enterprise is just as important as private businesses as the money is ploughed back into the community. And we get really good entrepreneurs in social enterprises."'Branch out'
One of them, Co-options, which provides work and development opportunities for people with learning disabilities, is planning to take one of the stalls later in the summer.
It hopes to sell vegetables that it currently grows on a farm it runs in the Denbighshire hills, where workers grow produce and look after chickens and bees.
"It's a good way for us to test the market," said Andy Lowe, managing director of Co-options, which employs 130 people at about 10 businesses across Denbighshire, 70 of whom have learning disabilities.
"It's more or less risk-free. It's a fairly short-term thing but could be a good way for us to branch out and sell things other than the veg boxes which we currently do."
End Quote Lynda Colwell Denbighshire Care and Repair
We can't just go and knock on door after door anymore as they are closing so you have to step outside the box and the market is helping us to do that”
Care and Repair, a charity which helps older people live safely at home, has already taken a stall to sell plants it grows.
"The sales will help to sustain the service going forward and give something back to the community," said Lynda Colwell, chief officer for the Denbighshire branch, which receives funding from the Welsh government.
"Without funding we wouldn't survive but money is less and less now and the elderly population is increasing so we have to do more for less.
"We can't just go and knock on door after door anymore as they are closing so you have to step outside the box and the market is helping us to do that."
DVSC is running the initiative but it hopes that will be extended if it proves a success.
Ms Williams added: "We hope in the long term to have some really positive stories."