Innovative market space helps budding Calgary entrepreneurs
Emerge Market is a chance for small business owners to have their own shop inside a re-purposed shipping container.
The shops are small, but that makes them affordable for entrepreneurs who are already juggling enough things to make their ventures successful.
“I've never really worn this many hats in my life and done my own marketing, my own business development, my own strategy, my own finances, it's quite overwhelming,” said Zahra Karmali, owner of Tak Tea.
Her store is in half of the old shipping container. The executive director of the International Avenue BRZ in southeast Calgary where the container is located says the idea is popular south of the border, and thought they could be used here to help small business owners.
“It's a fairly small area, it's only 8 by 40, so you're dealing with about 160 square feet each side, but what's nice is it's a very small amount of money for you to not go and lay out a huge long term lease,” said Alison Karim-McSwiney. “The thing that is so interesting about this business district is we have over 430 businesses, and the majority of them have been in business over 20 plus years, so there's actually a very stable business district here.”
Locals aren’t the only ones who benefit. Karmali also sells hand-made items from children in eastern Africa, with 100% of sales going right back to them.
“I do a lot of work internationally for underprivileged children in the developing world, and for me that's the inspiration of why Tak Tea has been created,” she said. “So my ultimate goal is to better the world, and to improve as many lives as I possibly can.”
The International Avenue BRZ is committed to Emerge Market for the next three years, and it’s not the only place to have a unique shopping experience.
For the next few Fridays, Central Memorial Park will host the Calgary Night Market, with ethnic street food, local vendors, and buskers.