Why Do it

Organising and running a TestTown event is hard work. It is a simple concept, but not a simple event. There are many layers to it from forming local working partnerships with organisations from different sectors, engaging and developing young businesses, negotiating pop-up leases with private landlords to the actual hands-on setting up and de-rigging of the event. So why would you do it? To answer that, we strongly believe it can produce a number of benefits for your place and your community.

Showcases your place – TestTown is about celebrating your place and finding new uses for unused spaces or areas that have been neglected or forgotten about.

Enables New Businesses to Have a Go– Allowing new businesses to test out their ideas in a low-risk, free trading environment is something which we believe is very important. It allows entrepreneurs the freedom to be creative and try out their ideas with nothing to lose.

Gets the Wider Community Involved – TestTown gives a wider group of people the opportunity to think about and be part of designing the future of their town. TestTown was not created specifically as a community engagement tool. However, it is this aspect of the project that the local TestTown hosts and participants have found particularly beneficial.

Low Risk– TestTown is all about creating a risk-free environment for new business to try out their ideas in a town centre space. However, one of the first things to keep in mind is that these events are also low risk.

It’s fun!- If you are still not convinced this is the best bit… running and participating in a TestTown event is fun! It requires a great deal of energy from all involved but gives a huge sense of satisfaction at the end.

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TestTown Stories

Dunfermline 2013

Three Years On TestTown piloted in...

Ellesmere Port 2015

Letting People Have A Go TestTown El...

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Words of Advice

  • The younger generation is the future, so spending the time to encourage them to care and solve problems regarding the high street is a wonderful step forward.

    TestTown 2014 Participant

  • Great experience for young people. Young people have a bad reputation in my home town so TestTown allowed us to show we had something more to give and that we were striving to achieve life goals.

    TestTown 2015 Participant

  • Life changing/ life affirming experience –finalists really went on a life journey’

    TestTown 2013 Host

  • You will never learn what we have learned this week in a college room or in a lecture hall, from a book or off the internet – it’s a real life experience and it has been invaluable.

    TestTown 2015 Participant

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

    TestTown 2015 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.