Meet Market: Earning While Learning
Meet Market supports young people to develop confidence, transferable skills, and potentially turn a profit by designing, developing and running their own market stalls.
We believe in the power of using real life entrepreneurship as a learning tool. We also believe that the immediacy of Markets makes them the perfect platform to take a hands-on approach to professional (and social) development through entrepreneurship, with limited risk and within a short time-frame.
We are running a Meet Market pilot in London during April and May 2012. We will work with a small group of young people to collaboratively test, design and refine the programme in a real-life context.
Over the seven day programme each participant will design and develop their own market stall business (or work in teams - it’s up to the them). With a £50 pot each, participants will be able to buy a range of commodities and support services from printing or financial advice to eggs and flour from the ‘Meet Market High Street’.
Together we will make and promote each individual or team’s produce, product or service and get down to a London market to sell to the public over two days.
End of June - Evaluation:
We’re just starting to evaluate the programme, and the learning, skills and personal development it has engendered. We will be working to understand important indicators for a range of desired outcomes that we can measure more reliably. Rav has given us a rather good head-start with this (above).
We have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, where we need to strengthen the programme and where we need expert help. We’ve started to build a team around the Meet Market that will hopefully ensure a sustainable and scalable future.
21st & 22nd June - To Market! - Selling at Greenwich Market:
Rav and her cousin primed and ready for selling on their beautiful stall
And the customers starting coming straight away!
Kareem and his brother Mohammed make their first sales.
Screen-printing Kareem’s t-shirts
Kareem’s T-shirt labels
June 21st saw Kareem and Rav trading for the first time. Both spent a lot of time and effort digesting the information from Ben’s (Greenwich Market Manager) workshop about presentation, and really did themselves proud. Towards the end of Day 1, both guys had some stock left, and rather than being downbeat, they asked if they could come back the next day to sell out, which they did.
Both Kareem and Rav grew in confidence rapidly, and by the end of day 2 they were taking samples around the market, getting the banter going and selling left, right and centre. Rav has already booked her next days in on the stall for the coming weeks.
1st June - Intro to selling with Ben Niblett - Manager, Greenwich Market:
@chrisjarratt prepping Rav, Stacey and Kareem for a chat with Ben
Stacey and Kareem listening hard to Ben’s wise words
Ben, who runs Greenwich Market, telling our posse how it is!
22nd May - Meet Market High St - Business and Branding support at HTA
The ‘Meet Market High Street’
General Store, Harris’ Independent Traders Business Advice, The Brand Store
Lucy from GDHTA working with Sephora on Sephora’s Shakes
Chris Jarratt talking with Kareem about procurement at The General Store.
May 11th & 19th - Intro to Meet Market & Entrepreneurship at Hub Westminster
A prop from the first workshop: the Meet Market story in lego
The Meet Market gang in the new Wiki-meeting space at Hub Westminster
Kelvin, Kareem and Ravneet finished the session by testing their selling skills with the help of C3PO - and all made a tidy profit!
The term NEET implies that formal education, employment and training are the only ways for young people to move forward and achieve. We believe there is another way - by working with and empowering young people to do things together for themselves entrepreneurship offers a great path to professional and personal development. The problem is this is normally inhibited by start-up costs, complex processes, a lack of structured support and the associated risk of failure.
We want draw another path for young people that doesn’t necessarily have to include formal employment, education or training. These provisions and structures don’t work for everyone, in many cases do not provide the journey through to increased opportunity or enjoyment, or simply don’t exist in the first place. Training and education can be prohibitively expensive and often aren’t delivering the skills development that some young people, or prospective employers want or need.
Meet Market will support young people and provide them the tools to understand their skills and passions and create pathways to turn those passions into something tangible.
Current economic and social change is having a dramatic impact on work. The idea that going through education to higher education, then into a job, working your way up and having a career set for life may no longer exist. Even if it does, it doesn’t work for
Entrepreneurship is (and for a long time has been) seen as the foremost catalyst for economic recovery. Emphasis is often placed on front-end investment to stimulate growth and development and in many cases is totally appropriate. However, there are many opportunities for generating income that require little or none.
Markets provide an extremely fertile and useful environment to test ideas, meet your customers and build confidence and learning. We also feel the experience of taking ideas literally to market provides a whole bunch of other really useful benefits such as learning some business skills and hands-on making skills as well as quickly understanding ones strengths and weaknesses.
1. Meet Market Intro Workshop
This bit is kinda for us… We know you’re new to this, but we are too. We have ideas, lots of them and some are good, others not so. Before we all start the pilot proper we’d like to run through how we see it working and ask for you to help us make it amazing. Your input will shape your Meet Market experience and we’re excited to build the project with you.
2. What are you?
Day one proper is all about you! What do you like doing? What are you good at? How can we relate that to something you could take to market? Do you bake amazing cakes? Well, great - that’s an easy one. Are you amazing at keepy-uppy? Cool - lots of people would pay to be taught how to impress the ladies (or gents) with their football skills. Or, are you just amazing at the market banter? Could you go into partnership and be the front-man for another meet marketer?
Before we get into this we’ll spend the morning looking at markets, entrepreneurship, talking to young people who’ve made it, and how Meet Market can help you move forward after we’ve finished the pilot.
3. Building your empire…
We’ll spend some time looking at how to manage money, resources and time efficiently. This will be the chance to build on your idea and make it real.
So we’ve talked a lot by now. Talk is cheap unless it’s acted on and now’s the time. You’ll be taken to the Meet Market High Street, where you’ll be able to buy everything from eggs and butter to t-shirts, design services, business advice, bunting, print material etc. What you buy is up to you, and we’ll give you a budget of £50 to do it with.
4. Let’s Get Making…
Now we know what we’re selling, we’ve got the goods - let’s get making. Whether you’re baking or printing we’ll have the kit you need ready and it’ll be down to you to nail it (with our support when you want it). By the end of the day you’ll be ready to go to market.
5. Market Day 1
Roll up roll up! It’s time to sell. Together we’ll set up at one of London’s markets and get selling. It’ll be a long day but we’ll be there to help if you want us. Remember, the profit you make is yours to keep.
6. Market Day 2
You’re now a seasoned stallholder so we’ll leave you to it. We’ll come by and see how you’re doing but we know you’ll be doing a roaring trade so we don’t want to cramp your style.
7. Evaluation and moving forward…
How did it go? Did Meet Market do a good job supporting you? What could we do better? How can we help you moving forward? Would you like to work with us to support more young Meet Marketeers in future?
Previous writing on the subject:
DECEMBER 5th 2011: Markets & NEETs
Following the post from serial near-collaborator @joesmithdesign last week I thought I’d scribble down my sixpence-worth regarding my personal experience of the growing issue of long-term NEETs, and how Joe and I intend to finally come together to look at it:
Working with @wemakegood on the Thames View Estate in Barking this year has been a real eye-opener for many reasons. One of the most striking elements of our exploration and engagement with the resident population has been how many young people are not connected with society on any level. This is not a shock in most senses (a lack of regular schooling, links with the state, or community groups etc) but we’ve been surprised at just how many people we’ve met in the 16-25 age group who aren’t connected with eachother either. Facebook is used by some, and most have a mobile phone in various states of disrepair, but BBM, IM and even texting are not common forms of communication, and as many young people are not in employment, education or training, they appear to have little structure in their lives on even a social level let alone as part of society as a place in which to work and learn.
This has been problematic when trying to regularly meet with local people (who are often more than willing) as we just don’t have a reliable format for communication. We’ve had to adapt to the most prevalent way of arranging meets amongst young people on the estate - a promise to meet by ‘big shop’ the following week. Anecdotal this is, but it points to a potential a continuing lack of connectivity by means most would consider near-ubiquitous amongst those born in the nineties and noughties.
This, coupled with a lack of social mobility, appears to create a ‘bird in the hand’ mentality towards income. It is an assumption, but I would say most 16-25 year old’s we’ve met would rather earn £20 doing a few hours labouring than have someone invest £200 in a course or training that will improve their skills base, but may or may not lead to employment and thus financial remuneration within the immediate future. A lack of connectivity helps to isolate young people and cloud decision-making in such circumstances - they don’t hear about opportunities available to them (and their associated benefits) through the internet or their peers and it’s therefore hard to communicate the potential benefits of further education or training. Additionally, fear of potential failure and commitment to relatively long-term training or employment seems to halt a desire to find a way into economic activity. Even if there is an interest in further training, most young people I’ve met wouldn’t know where to look or who to speak to.
This circumstance however, does engender a sense of latent opportunism. If there is £20 on offer, you’ll find suddenly certain people coincidentally are ‘experts’ at just the area you happened to be looking for. Communicating this is a valuable skill in itself, and opportunism is a key ingredient of any entrepreneur. However this interaction has only taken place in my experience when face-to-face and with someone familiar. It is less scary to chance your arm in these circumstances and comes with a lower risk of failure so often an issue for the fragile confidence lurking beneath teenage bravado.
It is clear that the academic slant of school and higher education is not appropriate for everyone, and ‘training’ likewise. Employment is also near-impossible to attain without the former in some capacity. Interestingly, the term NEET (not in employment, education or training) makes no reference to entrepreneurship as an option available to young people who are currently off the education/economic treadmill. This might seem like a big leap, but with the right support and at least nominal financial input, is not impossible, even if it is on a very small scale. It may even be a way around one of the perceived (and in our experience real) issues with getting some young people into work - reliability. If a young person not only has no experience of work, but additionally little understanding of responsibility in a family or social context, it can understandably be hard to empathise with and respect would-be employers as well as the impact their behaviour has beyond the immediate. Entrepreneurship by its very nature means one suffers directly for a lack of reliability - and this is a lesson quickly learned.
There are few places that microbusiness is more prevalent than on a market. Just this month Mary Portas has released the findings of her government-commissioned report into regenerating Britain’s high streets in which she champions the market as an environment that allows you to “try your hand” at something, and learn as you go. They are inherently low-tech, familiar and accessible - what you see is what you get. They are a place where low-key entrepreneurship can flourish, and allow for experimentation and importantly ‘mistakes’ and ‘failures’. In this sense they have potential to be a breeding ground for NEETs to build on what they know - talking to people face to face, informal relationships - and learn valuable transferable skills about competition, finances, dealing with ‘clients’ and perhaps most importantly structure and responsibility.
The next stage is to consider how a framework and/or platform around this might provide the support and opportunity to make this a viable concern. This will take some thought but there are some great models out there, not least our good friends The Amazings.
So, lots to think about but I guess at this stage our standpoint is that entrepreneurship doesn’t always have to be about making something completely financially viable (in the short term at least) but could well be a great way for those who are not well served by current provision to learn and prepare for an economically and socially active future. We’re interested in how, with the right support, markets could be a potential forum for this to happen.