Budding entrepreneurs from schools across Yorkshire will be selling products from their own businesses to crowds of Christmas shoppers this weekend.
A record 350 students will be taking part in the Merrion Centre’s christmas trade fair, an event run by LEAP, a charity that enourages young entrepreneurs by allowing them to set up a business with guidence from skilled business mentors.
Julie Brownrigg, development manager for LEAP, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the Christmas trade fair at the Merrion Centre for our ninth year. It gives students an invaluable experience by allowing them to practice their selling skills and take advantage of Christmas trading at one of Leeds’ prominent retail venues.”
Students will be selling their products at 9am on Saturday and on December 6 when the Lord Mayor will visit the stalls.
Amongst the businesses involved are Record Industries, which use old records and vinyls to create recycled products; Jammin, a jam and preserves company; and Flexi-Bottle, which offers a range of innovatively designed plastic water bottles.
Helen Green from Town Centre Securities PLC, which owns the Merrion Centre, is mentoring a group of students from Swallow Hill Community College. She said: “I’ve been involved with LEAP since it started nine years ago but this is the first time I’ve been a mentor. The students can call on us anytime for our input. We’re here to help and advise them in the planning and delievery of their business, it’s great to be involved and be a part of the nurturing budding talent for the next generation.”
Students from all over West Yorkshire will be involved in the Christmas trade fair for the first time, some coming from as far afield as York.
Julie Brownrigg said: “We have grown and developed over the last year and invited brand new schools to participate, meaning the program is accessible to a much wider range of students.”
There are sixteen business working with the students, twice as many than previous years. The trade fair will take place at the Merrion Centre in Leeds this Saturday and on December 6.