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Strathcona Artisan Market

This summer, SP Vancouver and their neighbors hosted the inaugural Strathcona Artisan Market (SAM)—an outdoor market featuring musical performances, art stations for kids, and over 25 vendors selling hand-made art, crafts, textiles, and food.

The aim behind SAM is to empower low-income neighbors towards greater economic security through entrepreneurship. We hope the market serves as a catalyst for the development of successful small businesses, and we have plans to work with vendors in other ways, including micro-finance, market access, and business mentoring.   

A great illustration of our hope for this initiative is Loretta’s catering start-up. Loretta is a single mom we met through our local elementary school. She’s worked in the restaurant industry, but has been out of work for a few years after she and her daughter had to flee an abusive situation. She’s had a dream of starting a catering business as a way to increase her income and do what she loves most: cook!

Even before the market, we were able to connect Loretta with people in our networks who need regular catering at meetings. What the market did for her was provide a venue to sell her food to the public and to greatly expand her network of potential clients. She has already gotten one regular catering gig from a new contact made at SAM. Going forward, Loretta has asked us to help with the legal side of business set-up and website development. She also ended up being our best recruiter for new vendors for SAM!

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