Budding entrepreneurs will tout their wares before thousands of shoppers on Saturday thanks to a partnership between Hamilton Night Markets and the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES).
The markets, at Kmart's underground car park in Bryce St, will host the annual YES Regional Trade Fair in a partnership designed to support the Waikato's entrepreneurial secondary school students.
YES regional manager Mary Jensen said students will operate more than 25 market stalls alongside regular stallholders, selling a range of products and services they have developed, from chocolate and perfume to an executive babysitting service.
This will involve schools from Hamilton and across the Waikato including Cambridge, Matamata and Putaruru.
Jensen said in most cases the fair will give students a first taste of running a business in the real world.
"The Hamilton Night Markets will be a great launch pad for their businesses and an excellent way for them to dip their toes into the world of entrepreneurship," she said.
"The market atmosphere will make it exciting for them to be taking their product to market for the first time."
Students will be judged by a panel of business leaders as part of the fair.
Night markets managers Tania Simpson and Frank Te Wani said they are pleased to be encouraging student entrepreneurship at the markets.
"We're very excited to be hosting the trade fair as a way of supporting the business leaders of the future," said Simpson. "Markets are a great way for people to start a business and we are pleased to be able to do something to encourage them."
She said the YES partnership is also part of a push to enhance the family-friendly atmosphere at the markets.
"We want to encourage people who perhaps haven't attended the markets before to come down, support these young people and grab a bite to eat.
"This weekend there'll be more than 100 stalls, including 44 food stalls, so it's a great time to visit."
The YES initiative, involving about 250 year 12 and year 13 students from throughout the region, is a year-long programme where they set up a real business, and research, develop, produce and market a real product to make a profit.
Hamilton Night Markets are open from 5pm to 11pm and entry is free.
- Waikato Times