A POP-UP event offering a glimpse of what the next generation of entrepreneurs could offer is coming to Warrington.

Warrington Market is hosting a Young Traders’ Market on Saturday where everyone from artists to street food specialists, aged between 16 and 30, will be demonstrating their talents in Time Square.

There will also be live music throughout the day curated by Lee Harman, of Warrington Music [WAM].

It is part of a national competition run by the National Market Traders’ Federation which was won by Warrington’s own greengrocer Rob Leicester last year.

Paul Blaney, market operations manager, said: “We want to make sure Warrington continues to have this hub and we can’t do it without people like Rob. Markets have always been about providing opportunities for start-up businesses. For a few years perhaps markets were not attracting the younger generation with shopping centres and the high street changing. So we really need to reconnect with young people and Rob has been the catalyst for making us realise we need to push forward and provide those opportunities.

“We’ve done a few things with younger traders but we want to establish regular events.

“The council is investing a significant amount of money – more than £140million on the redevelopment of the town centre including £11million for a new market – and if we don’t have that next generation coming through where’s the market in five or 10 years?”

Warrington’s first Young Traders Market will act as a heat for the competition.

A judging panel will then select around five young people to represent the town and the surrounding area in the regional final which will also be held at Warrington Market on August 3. The final will then be in Stratford-upon-Avon at the end of August.

Rob, a former Sir Thomas Boteler CE High School pupil, added: “Last year there were three regional finals and this year there are seven. There are hundreds more young traders coming through so the competition is a lot more stiff.

“That’s good to see because it means young people are still coming to markets and want a career in markets. It shows that there’s going to be a future for markets as well.”

The opportunity has so far seen Rob give a talk in Parliament and share a stage with Rosemary Shrager at the Cheshire Show – but he enjoys the day job more than anything.

The 20-year-old is carrying on a family tradition as his dad and cousin – both called Andrew – run the neighbouring Andrew’s Fish Game and Poultry stall.

Rob said: “It’s the atmosphere in here. I enjoy interacting with my customers. Over time you get to know them well.

“That’s what markets are about and for me I’m lucky that I’ve got family here too so it’s personal to me.”

Working with the likes of The Prince’s Trust and colleges, the Young Traders’ Market will feature the likes of art, fashion, beauty products, street food, candles, soap, eco-friendly products and beer from Warrington’s micro brewery Modern Day Monks.

Paul, a former Padgate High School student, hopes the initiative will lead to spin-off events with some of the traders like art workshops and ‘meet the brewer’ days.

He added: “There’s a lot more work to be done, there’s more young people to connect with and there’s more organisations to work with but this is the starting point to give young people in the area the chance to try a business idea.

“If they have been working on a concept behind the scenes or online this is the chance to try it out, meet people and get commissions. It’s a free event supported by the council. This is about investing in our future.”