SAITSA entrepreneurs’ market place draws crowd despite the sluggish economy

Entrepreneurs from around Calgary gathered in the Stan Grad Centre at SAIT on Nov. 24, to showcase their products.

Despite the uncertain economy, SAITSA’s second entrepreneurs’ market place featured six different booths that were crowded with students and faculty.

Virginia Quon, founder of Aukupi, a business that helps new entrepreneurs sell and promote their products at trade shows and finds them retail space.

Quon says Aukupi has seen an increase of new businesses coming to them for help since the economy has been struggling.

“People have been searching for jobs for months and there is nothing for them,” said Quon.

“So they think one of their only options is to start a new business to try and get some extra income.”

However, she says it’s not as easy as one might think to get a business off the ground right now.

Although retail space is becoming cheaper more and more businesses are solely doing trade and pop up shows, the organizers of these shows have been able to increase table fees to weed out the competition.

 Entrepreneurs take over SAIT Different booths are set up in the Irene Lewis atrium at SAIT in Calgary on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. SAITSA put on their second entrepreneur market place showcasing entrepreneurs from the SAIT community. (Photo by Abby Sletten/The Press) Entrepreneurs take over SAIT Different booths are set up in the Irene Lewis Atrium of the Stan Grad Centre at SAIT in Calgary on Nov. 24, 2016. SAITSA put on its second entrepreneur market place showcasing entrepreneurs from the SAIT community. Albert Mejia poses in his booth, Legal Hustle Clothing, which was founded in 2011. (Photo by Abby Sletten/The Press)

Quon also said that people are still buying “luxury” items while on tight budgets. It’s getting your product to the customer first and at a price that will benefit you both that is becoming an issue for new businesses.

Albert Mejia, one of the vendors at the market, founded his company Legal Hustle Clothing in 2011.

He says that his clothing has been selling steadily for the past couple of years, even when the economy started to flounder.

“I find no matter what the economy if you have a good enough product people are going to buy it,” said Mejia.

His advice to anyone trying to start up a business is that you never know until you try. Entrepreneurs should get out and talk to as many people as they can and know where there is a need for their product.

These are lessons that 14-year-old Natasha Popowicz is just starting to learn.

Popowicz was at the market selling her homemade candies and key chains.

“For me, it really depends on the demographics. I can go to one community and sell out and then go to the next and not sell a thing,” said Popowicz.

She said that SAITSA’s entrepreneur market was one of the busier trade shows she has been to in the past little bit.

Along with independent vendors, the show also saw some of SAIT’s own students including the second-year baking students and second-year journalism students promoting their magazine.

About Abby Sletten 7 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Abby Sletten is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2016-17 academic year.

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