What Do You Need

As well as the passionate people there are also a number of things you require when designing your TestTown event.

A Date That Suits– The programming of a TestTown week into your town’s calendar of events is important. It is best to avoid the natural ‘down-times’ in the retail calendar.

Vacant Spaces– Ideally the spaces should be allowed to be used for free, should be close together in the town centre and careful thought put into the ‘make-good’ costs.

Shop Fitting- Basic items should be provided for the participating businesses and clear guidance given to them in terms of when their equipment and merchandise can be delivered and picked-up.

Payment Methods-Host Towns should never be required to take responsibility for participant’s cash takings. Encourage them to put in place sensible banking arrangements.

Investment and Sponsorship-TestTown events can be run on a small budget with a lot of in-kind support. However they do require some form of financial investment to cover participant’s development grants, marketing, make-good and de-rig costs of spaces and prizes (optional.)

A Support Package for Participants-we have developed a toolkit and checklists to make surethe businesses receive the support required to participate in a TestTown event.

Documentation and Evaluation- don’t forget to document and evaluate to understand the difference your TestTown event has made to the individuals involved and to your town centre.

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TestTown Stories

Falkirk 2015

Shopping Centre Pop-ups The organise...

Enniscorthy 2015

  Making The Most Of Peak Times...

All TestTown Stories

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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

  • Have plenty of time to be on hand during trading as working with lots of stakeholders and businesses is very time consuming. It is key to manage the expectations of the participants e.g. they will not all make lots of money during their first day of trade.

    TestTown 2015 Host

  • We underestimated a lot or things which needed to be considered for the units and ended up doing the cleaning etc. for a couple on our own. All a good learning curve though for future initiatives and we’d make sure we added more lead in time to them.

    TestTown 2014 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

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.