Ellesmere Port 2015

Letting People Have A Go

TestTown Ellesmere Port was designed and run by the regeneration team of Plus Dane Housing Association. The aim of the project was to raise the profile of enterprise as an option for unemployed and more vulnerable people. Participants did not need to be ‘enterprise ready’ with a developed idea to take part. Referrals were encouraged from the Princes Trust, Cheshire West and Chester Youth Services and Business teams, the Work Zone, Job Centre, Cheshire Young Carers as well as Plus Dane’s front line services.

“Although the outputs were important, TestTown Ellesmere Port was more about the journey that the participants went on and the confidence and motivation it generated.”

TestTown Ellesmere Port was designed around a Pop-Up Business School course, whose ethos is about making the process of starting a business as accessible as possible ( www.popupbusinessschool.co.uk ) Titled ‘Pop up in the Port’, the programme was a blend of wellbeing workshops, a five-day Pop-Up Business school course and the opportunity to trade and showcase at the end of the process in a Pop-Up Business Fair. Although the outputs were important, TestTown Ellesmere Port was more about the journey that the participants went on and the confidence and motivation it generated.

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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

  • The animation of the town centre through pop-ups and performances created a wonderful atmosphere for new and returning shoppers.

    TestTown 2015 Host

  • 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

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.