A GROUP of budding entrepreneurs have been given a chance to get their businesses started at Newport Market after impressing judges at a Dragons-Den style competition.

The contest saw 12 finalists pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges including Newport City Council leader Debbie Wilcox, managing director of Newport Norse and Adrian Evans of Newport BID.

Coming in on top were Katie Farmer, 19, and Ffion Cox, 20, who were awarded a rent-free stall for 12 months to operate their business Cherish Clothing Boutique.

The pair said they are keen to attract younger customers into the marketplace.

Miss Cox said: “We still can’t quite believe we won, to be honest. We have been talking about opening up something for a while.

“They need something new in the market. We are selling clothes, young trendy street fashion for student age 16 plus. “

The girls have high hopes and say that if all goes well they would like to move into a shop and eventually create their own brand of clothing.

“We want people to support young people and independent retailers. This is going to be something new, something fashionable and we definitely want to encourage the younger generation and to inspire them to get into business,” said Miss Cox.

Runner-up Jacki Tyler was also given a free unit for six months, where she will open a beauty and complementary therapy stall offering treatments including massage and aromatherapy.

And the judges were so impressed with the entries all nine remaining finalists were also awarded up to three months of rent-free space each.