TestTown Stories

TestTown events have been held in 19 towns and city districts with 280 town center entrepreneurs graduating through a TestTown week and moving on to trial and run more than 117 new businesses. They make money. They create jobs. They breathe life back into the areas they break into. If barriers are broken down, there is very little they cannot do.  You can read their inspiring stories on the map. This portal has been designed to support, guide and inspire organisations and partnerships to have a go at running TestTown events.  We would love to hear about your events and include you in our TestTown map.

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Words of Advice

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

    TestTown 2015 Host

  • Make sure you have the commitment from key players in the local area. Without the dedication of the local authority and the City Strategy group, it would not have been possible.

    TestTown 2014 Host

  • 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.