Community markets a big drawcard for small enterprise

23 March 2016

Opportunity and exposure – the Lakemba Community Markets has been an advocate of both to local small-business entrepreneurs wanting the chance to showcase their wares in a relaxed environment.

The markets, which recently turned one, are held at Jubilee Reserve on the first Saturday of the month and usually attract between 600 and 1,200 people each time but that number is steadily growing. The start-up $7,850 funding from Canterbury League Club, which is used to attract quality entertainment to set the festive mood, has also helped it grow from strength to strength.

“The Lakemba Community Markets by-line is ‘Shop Around the World at Lakemba’ and the variety of stalls very much reflects this. There are beautiful items from every corner of the globe and there is something for everyone including the latest fashion, accessories, jewellery, henna design, gifts, delicious food, second hand items and much more,” said Kate Maclean, Community Development Worker at Canterbury City Community Centre, who established and administers the markets.

Kate explains the main benefits for these markets include assisting local people turn their small business dream into a reality and earn an income, as well as showcasing Lakemba’s diversity and vibrancy.

“It provides a village-type atmosphere and focal point for people to meet and socialise with others from the community in a relaxed and friendly environment. This in turn helps community harmony by providing an environment where people can easily meet and learn about other cultures,” said Kate.

Stall holders are open to the general public however preference is given to residents living in Lakemba and the Canterbury LGA. Casual stalls are also available for people who’d like to set up a pop-up stall.

“Stall costs are kept low to encourage locals and new business to have a stall. There are currently 30 stalls each month but the number is slowly increasingly as the markets become better known,” said Kate.

“Markets like these are a fantastic way to invite visitors to experience new cultures and see the beauty and richness in every one of them. This goes a long way in encouraging people to interact with each other, promoting tolerance in our community and reducing racial stereotyping,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.