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Entrepreneurs get a Start at Emerge Market

For the past year, Momentum has been supporting the International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) in developing their community economic development strategy in a project called The Heart of the New East. And recent news coverage of the neighbourhood’s new Emerge Market shows people are noticing area’s remarkable recent developments.
The BRZ itself spans 28 blocks and with over 400 member businesses, making it the largest BRZ in the city. The strength of the strategy comes from listening to the community, which spans nine neighbourhoods and accommodates around 60,000 people. During the BRZ’s research, they heard from residents that they had to leave the neighbourhood to find a market or a community minded coffee shop, among a whole list of others. Additionally, the researched identified over 500 home-based businesses operating in the area, which could with support, be grown out of their homes.
The goal is to take that list and use underemployed residents to foster those businesses. If that isn’t possible, already established businesses in the neighbourhood can foster the desired new businesses and have a resident-first hiring strategy. The former is what the Emerge Market was nestled in.
This market is called “Emerge” to try to capture the idea of emerging entrepreneurs and artists, and it gives them a safe incubation space. While some markets charge up to $700 for table space, Emerge’s tables are priced at $20 to ensure the price is not a prohibitive factor for the budding entrepreneurs. Vendors also get support from Momentum staff members who are at every event.
“On the first night two vendors didn’t have change on them, and we were able to sort it out for them,” says Erin Melnychuk, Momentum Business Development Manager. “We can help them with their pricing, or encourage them to do their own promotion of the event. We do real-time coaching with them to help them learn how to be a vendor.”
The goal is that vendors feel like they learned something about being an entrepreneur, got the experience they need, and they’re ready to pursue their next steps either by opening their own storefront on International Avenue or partnering with another vendor.
Each night sees about 12 vendors, some new and some returning, selling everything from clothing and jewelry to baked goods and origami art. There is also a converted shipping-container storefront that houses TAK tea, a tea shop that operates full-time business hours and also sells handmade goods. TAK tea is a Momentum graduate business.
The Emerge Market is located at 1807 42 St SE, and runs every second weekend until the end of September. The next market will run from August 12-13. For a full list of event dates, or to find out how to become a vendor, visit www.emergemarket.ca.
Past media coverage of the Emerge Market can be found at:
TAK tea, a tiny International Avenue business a truly global affair | Calgary Herald

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