Promising business brains have been successfully sharing their talents with shoppers across Wolverhampton this summer – with 2 entrepreneurs winning their way through to the finals of a national young trader’s competition.

Special young trader markets were held last month at Bilston Indoor and Outdoor Market, City Centre Market and Wednesfield Market to offer young people aged between 16 and 30 the opportunity to help kickstart or grow a business.

As part of the events, the young traders were able to access ongoing support through City of Wolverhampton Council’s new package for young traders.  The package includes teaming up with a mentor who has market trading experience, access to business support, four weeks’ free rent, discounted rent periods and enrolment onto the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme.

Products on sale at the July young trader events included delicious homemade brownies, stylish handbags and purses, handmade hair scrunchies and face coverings, garden ornaments and homemade candles, frames and Mehndi designs.

Of the 9 young people who took part, 5 were put forward to the regional finals of a national young traders competition, run by the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF), which recognises and celebrates young traders from across the UK.

The regional event was held in the city’s Dudley Street on 7 August and 2 young traders successfully made their way through to the competition’s national final, to be held in Stratford-upon-Avon on 27 and 28 August.

Grace Ripalo, who runs GG Desserts, won the food category at the regional final with her tempting selection of homemade brownies and will now be competing against 70 other young traders in the national finals.

22 year old Grace, from Finchfield, started a postal desserts business during lockdown, and is so determined to follow her dream that she turned down a secured job to pursue her passion.

Rohaneel Bhardwaj, who trades under the name Italy’s Little Secret, was highly commended in the general retail category. It was the first time he had traded in Wolverhampton and will take his wide range of handbags and purses to Stratford to compete in the national finals.

Other local young traders who were chosen to take part in the regional finals were Georgie Bucknall, who makes hair scrunchies and face coverings, Ryan Spilsbury who sells garden ornaments and Harveen Sidhu who creates candles, frames and Mehndi designs

Councillor Steve Evans, City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment and climate change, said: “I would really like to congratulate all the young people who took part in our young trader events.

“All of the traders showed great enthusiasm and real talent and I want to recognise all their hard work in getting out on a stall and kick-starting their own business.

“Markets are a really good base to begin. Set up costs are low and stall holders can concentrate on building up great face to face relationships with customers. And any young people who are thinking of starting their own business are welcome to contact us to find out more about the support package we are offering.”

Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “What a great success our young trader events have been and what a wonderful way to showcase the drive and ambition we have in the city.

“One of our priorities as we work to relight our city is to create more opportunities for our young people and it’s great that we’ve been able to help a new generation of business owners see their ideas take flight. 

“Well done to everyone and good luck to Grace and Rohaneel in the national final, we’re backing you all the way.”

For more information about the young traders support package, please contact 

Visit GG Desserts website. Italy’s Little Secret can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Georgie Bucknall runs Gorgeous by GB via Facebook, Instagram and Etsy. 

Follow Harveen Sidhu on Instagram