15 Mar 2010 12:05 PM
New business support leaflet for struggling market stalls

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 15 March 2010

A new advice leaflet for market traders offers stall owners free business ‘health checks’ to help them beat economic challenges and increased competition, Markets Minister Rosie Winterton announced today.

The leaflet: ‘Growing Markets: Championing the Market Stall’, will be distributed widely across the country to 35,000 market traders and managers to throw a spotlight on all the free Government support available to make sure local markets succeed in the face of 21st century challenges.

Ms Winterton, who was appointed the Government’s Champion for Markets last year, launched the leaflet in Mansfield with Mansfield MP Alan Meale, where she met the Town Centre Services Manager Jan Clarke-Humphries and local traders to listen to their concerns. Mansfield has had a market charter since 1227.

Markets across the country like Mansfield are struggling in the face of growth from out of town supermarkets, discount stores, internet shopping and the current economic climate.

Ms Winterton advised that more traders needed to take advantage the support available. She urged them to contact Business Link to get a free business health check, advice on cutting costs or getting loans, and help form Jobcentre Plus to avoid job losses, as well as tax deferrals.

Mansfield has used Government funding (the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) to set up a monthly community market in Woodhouse. It lets local people trade their own produce and goods including cards, gifts, jams, chutneys, cheese, seasonal vegetables, home-ware, jewellery and locally made honey.

Rosie Winterton said:

“Markets like Mansfield and all across the country have been hit by the rise in out of town supermarkets, discount stores, internet shopping and a difficult economy. But I am committed to working with traders and councils to meet these challenges and make sure the market stall survives.

“At their best markets can draw shoppers to the area bringing a town centre to life, give farmers an outlet for their produce and provide a fantastic testing ground for entrepreneurs. Big names like Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Morrisons and JJB Sports all started out as a market stall. I know from trips to my own Doncaster market and here in Mansfield how enjoyable the bustle of a market is – it is why markets have been part of our heritage for over a thousand years.

“Today I am launching a new business leaflet specifically for markets so traders everywhere can find out about the support Government is giving them from free business health checks, to tax deferrals and start-up funding. It is crucial that put we markets back in the spotlight so they see a renaissance in this country.”

A national traditional market champions group, set up by Ms Winterton last year, agreed that more markets needed to be made aware of the range of Government support for small businesses and entrepreneurs through a leaflet campaign.

A spokesperson for the Retail Markets Alliance Joe Harrison said:

“We’re pleased that the Government has produced a leaflet that points directly to where market traders can get support during this time of economic recovery.

“We feel that the value of retail markets and what they have to offer to shoppers and both the local and national economies is finally being recognised, and this extra help for traders is much appreciated.”

Alan Meale MP added:

“I am delighted that Rosie has been able to take time out of her busy schedule to visit Mansfield. This has given locals, stall holders, local businesses, the authority and service providers a chance to meet the Minister and put to her the problems faced in this area.”

The leaflet also highlights a helpful case study, the innovative ‘How Bizaar’ project at Leeds’ historic Kirkgate Market which allows new businesses or traders to test products, services and ideas at a market stall rent-free for 12 weeks with the backing of LEGI money.

Other markets using this fund include Doncaster, where funding also provides test trading opportunities rent free for 12 weeks, Coventry, and Bradford. Traders in every eligible area are urged to set up similar projects.

Regional Development Agencies and the Department of Business Innovation and Skills can also provide useful advice on starting, running and growing a business including securing bank loans through the Government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme.

Notes to editor

1. Business Link is delivered via three channels - a network of business advisors, a national help-line (0845 6009006) and an online portal (www.businesslink.gov.uk) Business Link is able to offer businesses a free 'Health Check', the purpose of which is to help businesses to succeed and grow. Businesses reviewed by a professional adviser with a view to countering problems, identifying opportunities and accessing any Government support which might be available. Since October 2008, over 117,000 businesses have taken advantage of a Health Check.

2. According to the Retail Markets Alliance (RMA) there are:
* 1124 traditional retail markets
* 605 farmers’ markets
* 26 wholesale markets
* Over 45,700 retail traders
* An estimated 95,000 people directly employed on retail markets
* 1,000 wholesale businesses
* An estimated 10,000 people directly employed on wholesale markets
* Total retail market turnover of over £3.5 billion a year
* Wholesale market turnover of £4.1 billion a year.

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