Dunfermline 2013

testtown-dunfermline-2013-participants-alan-morrison

Three Years On

TestTown piloted in Dunfermline in 2013, after two years of planning and development. The project was run by the Carnegie UK Trust working with Fife Council and local BID Dunfermline Delivers as local hosts, and set a challenge for 16-30 year olds to come up with innovative business uses for town centre spaces. Three years on we are able to reflect and see what effect hosting TestTown had on Dunfermline. Out of the eight vacant units used by the Testtown finalists, six are now occupied by independent businesses. Encouraged by the success of TestTown, the town set up their own local ‘TestTown’ style event titled ‘Venture Street’ in 2014 funded and supported by Carnegie Dunfermline Trust. Eight businesses plus a unit run by school pupils breathed new life into vacant properties in the Bruce Street area for six weeks leading up to Christmas, and graduates from that programme have gone on to set up businesses.

“Eight businesses plus a unit run by school pupils breathed new life into vacant properties in the Bruce Street area for six weeks leading up to Christmas, and graduates from that programme have gone on to set up businesses.”

The local authority, business improvement district and other local agencies have all developed enterprise support strategies to back more businesses locally. This first TestTown project taught us the importance of building a strong local coalition, across sectors, to maximise the impact of the activity.

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Words of Advice

  • I would have allowed myself more time without a doubt...Until you help facilitate a project such as this, I don’t think you are aware of all the little details involved and the local politics which can often send you three steps backwards. It was, however, the most interesting project I have worked on and all the hours were well spent !!

    TestTown 2014 Host

  • It would be great if towns had a means of showcasing local talent all year round to show local shoppers and public what there is up and coming in terms of potential business.

    TestTown 2015 Participant

  • 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

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.