Start-up tests out India idea on Norwich market stall

Jacanda Handicrafts, Norwich Market. Annie Woodman.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Jacanda Handicrafts, Norwich Market. Annie Woodman.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Norwich market could play a role as an incubator for fledgling start-ups wanting try a business idea without risking huge overheads, young entrepreneurs and business advisors have said.


India - Credit: Archant

According to a new business in the city's 900-year-old market, and the Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Service (NWES), traditional venues still have strong advantages over online stores and high street premises.

Annie Woodman, 24, and Alec Cumming, 28, set up a stall selling Indian prints and handicrafts at the beginning of May after a year of visiting Delhi and Jaipur partnering with manufacturers there.

Whilst she was determined to run her own business, Miss Woodman said the finer details of a business model might have remained a mystery without a full-day course with NWES - where she was advised to try trading at Norwich market.

'I don't know where I'd be now if I hadn't had the business advisor who helped me - she was amazing,' said Miss Woodman. 'Things like bookkeeping and VAT, I wouldn't know where to start.'

With an initial private loan investment of £5000, opening Jacanda Handicrafts on the market meant that if things did go wrong the business would not be lumbered with a £20,000 debt.

Business partner and boyfriend Alec Cumming said the market place was a perfect testing ground for a certain kind of business, with Norwich Lanes nearby creating an environment for shoppers looking for something different.

Most Read

'Instead of jumping straight in with a shop, we can create something slowly with longevity,' said Mr Cumming. 'It's really visible here.'

Andrew Wilson, head of enterprise services at NWES, said the location of a business would also depend on the individual needs of every start-up, but there were particular advantages to a market such as Norwich's.

'It really comes down to the costs involved. Obviously there's great footfall at Norwich market, and the costs are much cheaper than a shop,' said Mr Wilson. 'It allows a new business to prove itself.'

There was an increasing over-reliance on online sales in many new businesses, said Mr Wilson,

'People still like to see and feel the product,' he said. 'Online you can only see it.'

Are you a start-up business in Norfolk? Contact business writer Jess Staufenberg on 01603772531 or email