VISITORS to St George`s Market this month can also sample a range of fine foods and products from traders who took part in one of the council`s popular business programmes earlier this year.
For 20 participants of the Market Start Up Programme will be test trading at the historic market from Monday 17 – Wednesday 19 December as part of the venue`s additional opening hours in the run-up to Christmas.
The budding traders come from all parts of the city and will be selling a variety of products to customers including hand-crafted jewellery, recycled furniture and crafts, personalised cards and stationery, textile arts, a range of international fine foods, desserts and cakes and high-quality photographs of local places.
As part of the programme, the participants took part in tailored workshops which gave them an introduction to market trading, received one-to-one mentoring on developing their business ideas and had help with sourcing new materials, packaging and display. They had the chance to meet successful business owners and market traders and are now getting the opportunity to trade at St George`s Christmas Market..
The programme was free of charge and was open to residents of Belfast dedicated to opening their own food or craft business.
Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of Belfast City Council`s Development Committee, said: “The council is committed to supporting new and existing retailers, and the Market Start Up Programme gives new artisan food and craft producers a chance to sell their products and see whether markets are a suitable outlet. I wish all the companies the very best in trading at St George`s Market later this month.”
One of the participants Alex Begley of Madame Cocoa said: “I am really looking forward to trading at the market. It`s a great opportunity to attract new customers particularly during the busy Christmas period.
“It is an invaluable opportunity for me to test the market and fine tune my business idea and ranges interacting with customers and other traders. I have developed a lovely product and I cannot wait to see the public reaction to it.”
Asa McDowell from Asa McDowell Textiles said: “I have always wanted to run my own business. Through the Market Start Up Programme, I am now selling my products through a few local shops and I see the market as a great way to get customers` reactions. It`s exciting to trade at the Christmas Market and we hope it will be well attended”.
For more information on the council`s support for local business, you can visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/business or the council`s Facebook Belfast business page at www.facebook.com/belfastbusinessinfo
Further details on St George`s Market can be found at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/stgeorgesmarket