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Young entrepreneurs to sell their products at a virtual Christmas market

HUNDREDS of young entrepreneurs across Wales have been given an opportunity to sell and promote their products via a virtual Christmas market.

The Wales Student Market gives students and graduates from across all Further Education and Higher Education Institutions in Wales the opportunity to showcase their products and services while tapping into an existing market of staff and students.

During the festive period, many education institutions usually organise Christmas markets where students can sell their products. As this isn’t possible this year due to the coronavirus restrictions, the Wales Student Market was developed to help give the businesses developed by students across Wales a boost in sales ahead of Christmas.

The project is being led by Cardiff University and supported by Big Ideas Wales, the youth entrepreneurship service in Wales. Big Ideas Wales is part of Business Wales and is funded by Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund.  The service is aimed at anyone between the age of 5 and 25 who wants to develop a business idea.

So far over 100 businesses have signed up to be included in the directory, which includes food, crafts, fashion, art and service enterprises.

One of the businesses listed on the site is owned by Maisie Wise, 22, who studies Marine Biology at Bangor University. Maise set up her business, Shell Yeah Earrings, with the support of Big Ideas Wales.

Maisie said: “I set up the business in February with the help of Big Ideas Wales, who supported me in developing my business with advertisement ideas, logo design, and better management techniques.

“My jewellery is inspired by Anglesey’s beaches. All the shells are sustainably sourced from the island, with some of the wire being found washed up on Bangor’s beaches. The Wales Student Market has been a brilliant opportunity for me and my business and the number of sales has gone through the roof.”

Organisers have already confirmed that the website is not just for Christmas and instead will run all year round giving students the opportunity to test their business ideas and sell goods or services.

Every Welsh college and university has signed up to be part of Wales Student Market, including Cardiff University. Rifhat Qureshi, Enterprise Officer at Cardiff University, said: “When launching a business or any new product, it is imperative to test your business idea with prospective customers. The Wales Student Market gives students and graduates all over the country an opportunity to test their idea and hopefully sell their products. This lean method of testing before spending lots of time, money and effort is the way forward for any start-up in the current unpredictable landscape.”