Carrickfergus 2015


Local Authority Roll Out

TestTown Carrickfergus was delivered by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council in partnership with Carrickfergus Enterprise Agency. This was run over a 2015 bank holiday weekend from a pop-up show based in the heart of Carrickfergus shared by the six participating businesses. This ethos of sharing and working together was emphasised by the local Mayor: ‘I commend you all on the vision and dedication you are showing in ‘going it alone’, but I very much hope that your experience through the TestTown Carrickfergus initiative and through the relationships you strike up together demonstrates that you are actually not alone – there is support and goodwill out there and that others are also walking the same journey.’

Spurred by the success of TestTown Carrickfergus, Mid and East Antrim Council decided to roll it out across the Borough, investing a further £6,000.

Spurred by the success of TestTown Carrickfergus, Mid and East Antrim Council decided to roll it out across the Borough, investing a further £6,000. ‘The Pop-Up Shop Mid and East Antrim Programme’ went onto support three further TestTown events in Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Lorne in 2016. This allowed a further 15 new businesses to be supported and test their ideas and consider the viability of a long-term future within the selected town centres.

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Words of Advice

  • My best bit would be the engagement with the competitors during the online surgeries. A few lines of communication made all the difference in their applications and enthusiasm.

    TestTown 2013 Host

  • It was an amazing location, yet because of the distance between finalists, we felt a little neglected because we so far out of the way. Try and have all finalists a fairly equal distance apart  

    TestTown 2014 Participant

  • People are not shopping at individual brands, they are shopping at destinations. The people that will win at this are those that start packaging pop-up with infrastructure. The serious problem with pop-up space is that most landlords do not offer this. Successful pop-up destinations such as Boxpark in Shoreditch, E1, and London Union’s Street Feast, E8, provide basic shop fit-out, marketing and customers, which is a much more viable model for tenants.’

    Nick Russell, We Are Pop-Up

Highlights from the recent years

Five Ways To Supercharge Your TestTown

We believe there are five things which would Supercharge your TestTown:

  1. Every town should create a clear, supported pathway into trading and opening up a shop  for new town centre entrepreneurs.
  2. Every town should have a permanent pop-up facility in a viable trading space which offers flexible lease arrangements up to a year for new town centre entrepreneurs to learn.
  3. Every town should work, within their means, to reduce financial barriers in reduced rates and rents for new traders during their first year of business.
  4. Every town should carry out a regular (every five years) entrepreneur-led consultation which would feed into a business-led strategy for town centre development and business support.
  5. Every town should develop a hyperlocal cross-sector partnership to lead local innovation, ensuring that agencies, businesses, and residents are all powerful in leading local development.