TestTown 3D Moments

Four young entrepreneurs competed last weekend to be crowned Middlesbrough TestTown winners and receive £500 and a place in a national final. The idea of TestTowns is to breathe new life into the nation’s high streets help young businesses test out their ideas by utilising empty shop units.

Today I am profiling one of the competing young businesses in the scheme, supported by Middlesbrough Council and Middlesbrough College that offered budding entrepreneurs aged 16-30 business mentoring and an opportunity to road test their ideas in town centre premises.

Earlier this year the charity Carnegie UK Trust announced that Middlesbrough had been chosen as one of seven towns and cities nationally to take part in the TestTown initiative.

I chatted with Moments in 3D – A portable, fast 3D printing business producing portraits and bespoke models. They traded in Hill Street Centre last weekend and have an office in central Middlesbrough. One of only two of the businesses that are locally based.

Q:Please tell me a little bit about your business and what you are doing with the 3D printer.

A: Moments in 3D: we’ve got 3D technology helping us to make a miniature or sculptures of people. We take a few seconds using the 3D scanner and scan the person and then we use softwares to edit it and get it perfectly done for the print. We use 3D printers to actually print the person with all the full colours and all the details. So that’s it.

We could turn up to peoples venues, like a wedding. Scan the bride with all the details, the make up and the ring and everything else and then it only takes up to a few hours to print it out. We could actually hand it over on the wedding day so they could pop it on their cake. Or if they wanted it a bit bigger it would take a week to deliver it in a bigger size.

Q: So what you are saying you could make miniatures of the bride and bridegroom and they could be sitting on top of their own wedding cake.

A: If they wanted to for the day certainly or if not if they wanted a bigger version it will take a week to deliver it over to them.

We have lots of samples to see today. We are active. Moments is predominantly taking 3D technology to peoples doorstep but we have other products that do 2D designing 3D designs and 3D printing so we are pretty active in the 3D world.

Q: How long have you been operating?

A: We are a start up business so we started early this year, operating from central Middlesbrough, we have only been going 3 or 4 months at this moment. So it is not that long. This opportunity doing a TestTown is fantastic for us to get to see what the public’s reaction would be towards our products and obviously get some sales going through.

Q: Have you had much response today in this unit?

A: We have had loads of sales so far. Well over £100 already. It is a great opportunity that they have given us to see what people’s reaction is in this busy shopping mall. Obviously all the support has been absolutely great.

Q: How useful were the seminars you had before hand?

A: Yes we have had some classes before to just get ourselves prepared. Obviously you come into a shop it is not that easy. You need to know the legality etc and we have been to classes for it. They have trained us up. All this help from the TestTown people has been really great but so has the support been from the local people. The council has been great and so have the management of the Hill Street Centre.

Q: 3D printers have been in the news a lot lately with all the possibilities they are opening up in the medical world etc. A lot of us will not have seen this application. Just to see you holding a model of yourself shows the possibilities.

A: Absolutely. What we do is take this technology to people’s houses. 3D technology is at the moment mainly used in engineering applications. But there is a massive gap here and we can actually sell this to the public.

Not only selling it but this is moving forward from having a picture on your mantelpiece to having a miniature of yourself on your mantelpiece. So it is just like moving forward. It is what I would like to call physical photography. That is what we call our packages at weddings and family events.

Can I just say check our website www.momentsin3d.co.uk and check our facebook page again momentsin3d and we have a youtube channel as well.



TestTown Middlesbrough Weekend

Four young entrepreneurs competed this weekend to be crowned Middlesbrough TestTown winners and receive £500 and a place in a national final. The idea of TestTowns is to breathe new life into the nation’s high streets help young businesses test out their ideas by utilising empty shop units.

I will tell you the winner at the end of this article.

The scheme, supported by Middlesbrough Council and Middlesbrough College, offered budding entrepreneurs aged 16-30 business mentoring and an opportunity to road test their ideas in town centre premises.

Earlier this year the charity Carnegie UK Trust announced that Middlesbrough had been chosen as one of seven towns and cities nationally to take part in the TestTown initiative.

The seven participating towns are Middlesbrough, Coleraine, Rhyl, Kirkintilloch, Bury St Edmunds, Manchester and Perth.

After attending workshops delivered by Carnegie UK Trust and their event partners, including subjects from pricing to customer service, and filling their units with stock, the businesses opened shops for the weekend in the centre of Middlesbrough.

The four businesses trading at the weekend were:-

Moments in 3D – A portable, fast 3D printing business producing portraits and bespoke models. Unit 22-23 Hill Street Shopping Centre.

Major London 5 – A bespoke fashion business, making and selling printed urbanwear for men and women. Unit 22-23 Hill Street Shopping Centre.

Fusion Designs – A new popup home interior design and accessories studio and shop, targeted at younger consumers. 43 Dundas Street.

Bubble CreativiTea – A beverage business selling traditional Bubble Tea from Taiwan, with everything in the café including furniture being up for sale. Unit 31 Dundas Arcade.

Middlesbrough College’s construction department, MC Build, helped convert vacant shop units into pop up retail units for the aspiring new businesses, which ranged from a Taiwanese tearoom and art gallery to an interior design service.

The competitors traded for two days on Friday and Saturday with the winner being decided by a panel of judges in a ceremony at Middlesbrough College on Saturday evening. Despite the wet and windy conditions all four units did brisk business and attracted a lot of trade from inquisitive shoppers.

The winner received £500 of funding to take their business to the grand final in Cambridge, where they will compete to win the overall title and £10,000 of funding for their business.

TestTown is a Carnegie UK Trust project, supported locally by Middlesbrough Council and MiddlesbroughCollege.

The project has also received valuable support from Hillstreet Shopping Centre (owned by NewRiver Retail) and the Dundas Arcade, who have provided units for the finalists to trade from.

I grabbed a word with each of the four competitors in their shops. Here is the first trader I chatted with.

Q: Tell me about Bubble Tea and CreativiTea

A: OK Bubble Tea and CreativiTea are two different things.

Bubble Tea is a drink that originates in Taiwan and is now ubiquitous all over the world in China, America and even from where we are from down in London, maybe 20 shops have popped up in the last 2 years.

In Taiwan they have café type shops, like coffee shops, really popular.

There are two different types of tea. Milk tea made from Assam tea leaves and fruit tea, made with jasmine tea made with jasmine tea leaves. What is different is you actually suck up the stuff from the bottom with a big straw and you chew it.

The CreativiTea element is that this shop is full of the work of local artists and we have sourced their work and we are showcasing it. And the reason for that is we don’t want to waste such an empty, beautiful shop. As you can see some of it is already starting to sell as you can see from the signs. So that is the idea

Q: How did you contact the artists?

A: There are a few ways. Navigator North put us in touch with a few artists that were looking to showcase their work. Then also instagram. We searched Middlesbrough and we looked through a lot of photos and we found people that are artists and they provided us contacts. All of these are works from local artists. We are selling them and not taking any commission. They have been fantastic with us. The art is brilliant.

Q: And very varied.

A: That was a key point. Varied art and getting a little bit of everything.

Q: How do you two guys come to be here in Middlesbrough then?

A: In the TestTown competition you get a pop up shop for a couple of days and you can test your idea.

We came up here to this TestTown from London. There are seven test towns and there are some closer to us but Middlesbrough was the best for art. You have got mima, Gilkes Street, Middlesbrough College, Teesside Uni, College of Art and Design where some of the drawings on the walls come from.

Do you remember We Are Open pop up shops? They were doing something similar to this in Middlesbrough that stopped because of funding issues. I think it is a shame that something like this should get cut down. So if we can run the business side with Bubble Tea selling then we can also give a space to up and coming artists.

Q: Brilliant, so you have the two elements introducing Bubble Tea that is spreading in popularity around the world but also providing a platform for local artists to sell to the public. And they are selling as we can see (by the Saturday almost half the artwork had been sold).

A: Exactly. They are helping us and we are helping them. The art is brilliant and we are giving them an opportunity so it works both ways.

Q: If you win the heat and go through to the grand final would that be exciting?
A: Yes it would be. There is another Bubble Tea shop in Cambridge, a bit more competition.

Q: Has running the shop and the tutoring given you a lot of experience etc?

A: We can gain feedback and see if the two things work together. It was just an idea but you don’t know if they are going to work. We like it but we will see how other people like it.

Q: Good luck and thanks for introducing me to Bubble Tea.

Bubble Tea and CreativiTea was announced as the winner of the Middlesbrough TestTown Heat on Saturday evening at Middlesbrough College. So congratulations. And how good to know that the lads chose to come to Middlesbrough because of its great art.

For more information visit www.testtown.org.uk


Record Holder Runner Offers Tips To Swift-Tees

One of the region’s top runners and the holder of the Middlesbrough Tees Pride 10k record offered tips and words of encouragement to local runners yesterday evening.

Martin Scaife won the inaugural Middlesbrough 10k Road Race in 2005 in a time of 29m 36s, a record that still stands.

And the Darlington athlete is keen to help others get into the sport which continues to grow with a string of popular events across Middlesbrough and the wider Tees area.

Martin joined in training with the popular Swift-Tees running group in Hemlington this week ahead of the 5k Riverside Run on Sunday, June 1.

The group meets at the Habinteg Community Centre at 6pm every Wednesday evening. Last night Martin ran alongside runners offering one to one advice and encouragement during interval training around the banks of Hemlington Lake.

Martin, manages running specialists Sweatshop up in the Metro Centre, Gateshead, who are providing this year’s 5k race numbers. Not surprisingly he was also a font of knowledge with regard to the right clothes and running shoes to train in.

He said: “It was a great feeling to win the very first Middlesbrough 10k, and it’s now established as one of the best races of its kind in the region.

“But these events are for everyone taking part, and it’s a great achievement for everyone who completes the course, regardless of their time.”

Ahead of last night’s training session Martin said:

“I’m looking forward to meeting the Swift-Tees runners and helping them to achieve their own goals and hopefully enjoy a great event.”

Swift-Tees founder Rosanne Lightfoot said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our runners – we can’t wait to rub shoulders with and learn from an athlete like Martin.”

Boro’s Riverside Stadium is once again the start and finish point of the 5k Riverside Run and 2k Fun Run.

The popular route takes runners past many of the town’s most iconic land marks including the Transporter Bridge, Middlesbrough College, the Middlehaven Dock Clock and Temenos.

The race is also the ideal springboard to get in shape for the ever-popular Middlesbrough Tees Pride 10k Road Race which returns for its 10th edition on Sunday, August 31.

After training at Swift-Tees I just managed to summon enough energy to record a brief chat with Martin about his thoughts on the running group, preparations for the Middlesbrough 10k and running in general.

Q: How did you enjoy the Swift-Tees training?

MS: Oh yes fantastic. It is just brilliant to see everyone out in the community enjoying it. I think the best thing is that it is all ages. Everyone is really spurring each other on and giving everyone else loads of support. It was an absolute pleasure to come down today.

Q: How does it feel 9 years on that you are still the record holder of the Middlesbrough 10k. Does it make you proud?

MS: Yes I am a local lad, I always have been. I have either worked in Middlesbrough or have been around in Middlesbrough a lot of my life. I used to run for Mandale when I was a kid. I am still very proud of holding the record. But it is there to be beaten. I would probably like to see Matty Hines have a go at it, a young lad coming through. I would be quite happy to see him take it.

Q: It was 2005 when you won in the record time and now we have a lot more runs in the area. Are you pleased to see how many events there are and how well they are supported.

MS: I think running is on a massive boom. I think the percentage for increase of runners is actually 74% of people who are competing in events or are running now. A lot of people have actually thrown away their gym passes and decided to put their running shoes on and go out and run. These events are cropping up all over. I am talking to a lady tomorrow who is doing a kaleidoscope run through a hospice up at Newcastle and you have to wear all white and people through paint over you, it is like a fountain of different colours. There are all sorts going on. There are Zombie runs where zombies chase after you. And the rat race of course. So it is adventure racing and running. It is absolutely fantastic. I think there is a massive running boom at the moment and it is great.

Q: From what you are saying and what we see through Swift-tees is that running is everyone. Is that correct?

MS: It is for everyone yes. And basically that is the philosophy I solidly believe in that it is for everyone. And it is great to see young, old, all different types of people out there and enjoying running.

Q: If people are thinking of running the Middlesbrough 10k on 31st August are they still in time to start training? What your advice be?

MS: Yes, they have got time to start it but you should build it up in 10% increases every two weeks. Even jogging and walking to initially to start with. There is loads of information out on the internet on training etc. If anyone is stuck I’m up in the Metro Centre Sweat Shop. If anyone wants to call in and bat any ideas about what they want to do, either nutrition wise or training wise.

Q: Somebody reading this might be inspired to have a pop at your Middlesbrough 10k record.

MS: Well hopefully. Yes it is there to be taken. It would be good to see. I think Teesside on the whole is a real hotbed for running at the moment. I think it is fantastic to see. It is what the region needs and the area needs and people like Swift-tees are really promoting it as well which is fanatastic.

For further information, training plans and to sign up for the Runmiddlesbrough 2014 races, visit www.runmiddlesbrough.com

As part of its Improving Health Together mission, NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is sponsoring both the 5k Riverside Run and the 2k Fun Run on Sunday, June 1.


Patrick Monahan Cake Charmer Comes Home

TV funnyman Patrick Monahan is looking forward to coming home to Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt on Saturday 17 May. Patrick will be bringing his cake charming tour into home territory.

I caught up with Patrick as he charmed the cakes in the Olde Young Teahouse, Middlesbrough. There was only one topic to start our conversation with.

Q: Cake!

PM: Cake! I’m going to do this interview eating cake. (And he did munching away throughout)

Q: Cake any time of the day?

PM: Exactly, five times a day. You have got to get your five a day. If you can put fruit in that is even better. Cherry, lemon cake, carrot cake as well. That is where we are going wrong. Encourage kids to eat cake that has got fruit in and then all you do is slowly as they get used to it take away a bit of the cake and leave the fruit. Then eventually you will just put the carrot on the plate and they will think that it is a carrot cake.

Q: That is a good idea. It could be a football diet as well. They have all these dieticians these days.

PM: I know that is ridiculous. Do you remember that Brazilian footballer, Socrates? Do you remember when he would turn up and be eating like turkey drum sticks and then he would play amazing on the pitch. Then at half time he would go and have a fag and then he’d be having a pint and then he would come back out and dribble around eleven of the players. He was amazing.

And then you think of the players now and they are all like looked after like babies. But to be fair they do live longer. Poor Socrates I think he died when he was about 40.

Q: There is that. Oh and you mention Socrates and it is the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

PM: Yeah wow that should be amazing. How many Boro players will be playing?

Q: Well the keeper, Dimi Konstantopoulos might get in the Greece squad.

He is the bottle top keeper, did you see that incident?

PM: No, what happened?

Q: You think of strange things that happen on a football pitch, you don’t get too many dogs anymore but the ball landed on a stray bottle top on the pitch and bounced over Dimi’s leg and was knocked into the empty net.

PM: No. I do remember the inflatable at Sunderland v Liverpool and the ball deflected into the goal. But how did it bounce off a bottle top? We have got to make sure this summer that no drinks have bottle tops.

Q: Maybe that is why they take them off you at matches? But they don’t remove the keepers do they?

PM: Oh no. They do the same in concerts. You are not allowed to leave the top on but someone said it was to stop people putting something in it and making it heavy and throwing it at the performer. But I am thinking whose going to pay all that money for a ticket to throw a bottle.

So you have to be careful and my prediction for the World Cup in Brazil is to take plenty of sun lotion but they need to let you keep the bottle top or it will make a mess of your clothes and luggage.

I would say it is going to be good. You look at the Premier and Championship this year and they have been amazing. It has been such a great year for football. But the problem is whether English players can play together as a team when they come to the World Cup. They are too busy worrying about their girlfriends shopping. They are going, why did I bring the Wag here to Brazil? Although saying that Brazil is not going to be somewhere like Italy with designer shops.

Q: But they could be promenading up and down the beach at Rio?

PM: Exactly. Keep an eye on them.

Q: Maybe that is why England are playing in the middle of the Amazon.

PM: Oh yes and I know the games are going to be late as well. I tell you what that is going to be quite funny for us doing a concert. Because when a World Cup is on we are always so used to people turning up hammered to the gigs as they have just been watching the world cup match at four o’clock in the afternoon.

Or sometimes it is just about the same time. Do you remember when England played Portugal and it was about 7.30pm kick off? And they moved the comedy show so we had to start after the football match. Which is ridiculous because if England lose you have got to do a show to a load of people who are just dead upset. And that’s exactly what happened as we got beat and so there was all these people just sat there so miserable and upset. And you have got to get them happy again and you can’t. Because as a comedian as well it is topical, so you have got to talk about what has been happening.

But this year I think it is quite a good thing because the matches are so late people could still come and see the show. Come and have a drink and see the comedy show and then go and watch the football match.

Q: People are probably looking for something to do to keep them going to the late kick off.

PM: Exactly. Perfect.

But it was funny though last World Cup and I was on tour as I am now and I did a load of dates in June. You could tell England were playing because you would turn up to a theatre and literally 98% of the audience were women.

There was one show and it was in a little theatre and I was worried who is going to come out they are all watching the football. It was packed full of women. There were just two blokes in there and a hundred women. One was a son who had brought his mum out and he was going to watch the football when he went back and his mum wasn’t interested. And the only other bloke in the whole theatre was a Scottish bloke who was married to an English women. He loved it and wasn’t bothered. This was down south. That is the only plus side for a comedian during the World Cup is that you are going to get an audience that really just want to see comedy. Everyone else, the rest of us are just watching football aren’t we?

Q: Yes.

PM: I think the best way to do it is to put on the show first and then we can all watch the match straight after. We did that one year, I think it was at Cheltenham and it was lovely. The match was kicking off in the afternoon about 4 or 5 o’clock and we did the comedy show about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. It was fantastic just so nice. It was a bit like the old days, how it used to be. Do you remember how people would come in, dressed up and have something to eat, see a comedy show then eyes down for bingo? Lovely.

Q: The last time we spoke, which was about January. We said that when you come to do your show May 17th Boro could be awash with play off fever. Sadly not to be.

PM: But you have got to look at the positives this year. When I saw them on Boxing Day there was such a big improvement. I loved Mowbray, don’t get me wrong. I thought Mowbray was a great manager as well. But in terms of Boro, Boxing Day they were so good but there were also so many great individuals, Emmanuel Ledesma etc. It is was the first time in the couple of seasons where I thought you could see Boro in the Premier. Now that was almost like a Premier team.

Q: Did you like the way the team was organised as well?

PM: Yeah I thought they had just got the gel right. I think this year it would have been great if they had got in the play offs or gone up but I think the thing is you have to build it, don’t you? Because if they go up you don’t want that problem again of where they are struggling to stay up. Whereas if they build it next year and go up as Champions. I think they could easily win the league next year. If you go up as Champions you have more chance of finishing in mid table in the Premier League the year after. So it is just building.

Q: So, perhaps everyone should come to your show in May.

PM: Come to the show Saturday May 17th and we can sing some Boro songs in the interval. Craig Hignett usually comes along with his missus.

Q: He is the Boro assistant manager now.

PM: Yeah. I forgot about that. He was at Hartlepool wasn’t he? And come over from there. He has done well. That is the way to do it. Build up, build up, build up. Great stuff. He has played for the club, he’s gone off to Hartlepool and I think it won’t be long in a few years time before we see Hignett as manager for Boro. Imagine that. Fanastic. A little scouser in charge of Boro.

Patrick Monahan: Cake Charmer. Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt. Saturday 17 May. Age: 12+. Doors: 7.15pm. Show: 8pm. Tickets: £14 / £12. Box Office: 01642 729 729 or www.middlesbroughtownhallonline.co.uk

Photos Tracy Hyman at Olde Young Tea Shop


TestTown Middlesbrough 2014

TestTown 2014 banner

Middlesbrough is proud to be participating in TestTown 2014, a competition run by Carnegie UK Trust, which aims to revitalise high streets by bringing empty retail units back into use, as well as offering young people the skills to start up their own businesses.

Middlesbrough is one of seven towns to host a regional final, along with Coleraine, Rhyl, Kirkintilloch, Bury St Edmunds, Manchester and Perth. Nationwide, over 400 young entrepreneurs aged 16-30 applied to be part of TestTown and of those, 35 were shortlisted, with five to attend each TestTown local heat.

In Middlesbrough, the competition runs from May 19 – May 25, with Friday 23 and Saturday 24 being the days when participants will be trading in the town centre, so come on down to see what it’s all about!

The businesses taking part will be:

Moments in 3D – A 3D printing business producing portraits and bespoke models.
Unit 22-23 Hill Street Shopping Centre.
Major London 5 – A bespoke fashion business, making and selling printed urbanwear for men and women.
Unit 22-23 Hill Street Shopping Centre.
Fusion Designs – A new popup home interior design and accessories studio and shop, targeted at younger consumers.
43 Dundas Street.
Bubble CreativiTea – A business selling traditional Bubble Tea from Taiwan, with everything in the café including furniture being up for sale.
Unit 31 Dundas Arcade.
Yummy Ads – An advertising company selling space on branded coffee cups and tray covers, and paying schools and colleges for using them in-house.
Dundas Arcade, Dundas Street.

At the end of the week, one business will be crowned the winner, receiving £500 and a place in the grand final taking place in Cambridge in October 2014. The winner of the grand final will claim £10,000 in startup funding, as well as specialist support from Carnegie UK Trust and their partners. Most excitingly, they will also win the once in a lifetime opportunity to trade on Oxford Street (London) for a month.

The TestTown Project aims to utilise some of the 50,000 vacant shop units in town centres across the country, as well as offering a new opportunity to 16-30 year olds who may find themselves without the means to start up their own business. During the 2013 pilot TestTown project, sales over of £10,000 were taken during the grand final and footfall in the trading streets doubled.

TestTown is a Carnegie UK Trust project, supported locally by Middlesbrough Council and Middlesbrough College, in association with Dundas Arcade and Hillstreet Centre/NewRiver Retail.

Useful links
Carnegie UK Trust
TestTown 2014