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Bury St Edmunds: Five young entrepreneurs set up shop as part of TestTown initiative

PUBLISHED: 11:14 19 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:14 19 July 2014

Test Town competition gets underway in Bury's Cornhill Walk shopping centre. left to right, Lianne Swateridge, Hollie Scott, Vicktor Brelsford and Aine Dempsey.

Test Town competition gets underway in Bury's Cornhill Walk shopping centre. left to right, Lianne Swateridge, Hollie Scott, Vicktor Brelsford and Aine Dempsey.

Bury St Edmunds is all set for a blitz from budding businesswomen this weekend as five young entrepreneurs set-up shop in the town.

Yesterday saw the TestTown initiative launch across Bury, with five businesses having two days to sell their products before a winner is crowned tomorrow.

The five-star field is made up entirely of women aged 16-30, and includes local girls Keri Bird and Hollie Scott, as well as businesses selling arts, crafts and luxury marshmallows.

Three of the businesses are based at a unit in the Cornhill Walk Shopping Centre.

Ms Scott, from Bury, is expanding her online business Violet Lilly Vintage Clothing to physical premises for the first time, while next door is Aine Dempsey’s Marsh a la Mode.

Ms Dempsey is originally from Ireland but has been living and working in London, and hopes her handmade marshmallows will appeal to the same crowds that enjoy other high-end food products.

“I really like confectionery and I quite enjoy baking,” she said. “People have had enough of cupcakes, meringues and all that, and I thought what can we do next that will be quite interesting? Everyone loves marshmallows and they taste completely different to what you get in shops.”

At the other end of the unit in Cornhill Walk is Ellenesse Finesse, a creative art and design company from Lianne Swaterbridge, from Taunton, Somerset.

Ms Swaterbridge’s store showcases paintings and jewellery along a theme of reality and the system, while she is also offering tutorials in sculpting.

She has even roped in the help of computer whizz Vicktor Brelsford, who has created a virtual reality for people to explore through special headsets.

Elsewhere, 3D life-casting artist Keri Bird, from Bury, will be running her Birds Baby Boutique at Unit 19 in The Arc shopping centre.

The final entrepreneur is Victoria Robertson, from Leicestershire, whose Smarti Paints Limited is a social enterprise teaching people with disabilities to produce craft items. She will be based in Hatter Street.

The winner of TestTown will be announced at 4pm at the LP Bar, with the winner going on to compete against five others in the national final in Cambridge. The winning business will pocket £10,000 and mentoring to help them grow.

The TestTown project is run by the Carnegie Trust, and aims to provide opportunities for young business people, as well as boosting high streets. Other regional competitions are taking place.

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