It’s December! The holiday season for shopping and spending time with family. The Woman Boss celebrated its 2nd annual pop-up market. This year, in collaboration with United Nations Development Plan, Gambia (UNDP Gambia) and Hendon Court, the ‘She Sells Holiday Pop-up Market’ was held from 21st to 23rd December 2021. This year however was different. The Woman Boss was intentional about inclusivity and therefore invited women entrepreneurs from all the five cohorts of The Woman Boss Accelerator Program, as well as women entrepreneurs from 3 different regions in The Gambia- North Bank Region, Central River Region and Lower River Region to bridge the gap between rural and urban women entrepreneurs. They were brought together at Hendon Court (in busy Senegambia) to provide them with a platform to sell their products, gain visibility, create market linkages, and collaborate within each other. Above all, this means that they are contributing towards the economic viability of the country.
The Woman Boss believes that women entrepreneurs are creative, confident, and innovative. “Women entrepreneurs increase their economic opportunities when platforms and spaces as such are created. It is our goal to help alleviate poverty for women and children- the most vulnerable”, says Awamary Lowe-Khan, Founder of The Woman Boss.
In total, 35 urban women entrepreneurs and 15 rural women entrepreneurs participated in the event. From food vendors to clothing and accessories- there was something for everyone. Because of the generous support from UNDP Gambia, and Hendon Court for the space, the pop-up market is free for the women entrepreneurs to set up and sell and free for the public to come and shop.
“I love the diversity in not only the age groups of the entrepreneurs but also the diversity in their products. Everything you might need from clothes to shoes, handcrafts, food, skin care and even batik is all available. Women entrepreneurship truly is key”, says Mrs. Aissata De, Resident Representative of UNDP in The Gambia.
Other fun activities such as free face painting for children, free fitness at the lawn, and music, to encourage networking between the entrepreneurs. The fitness at the lawn was included this year to promote healthy lifestyle living and eating. Sagar Cham, one of the rural women entrepreneurs said, “Initiatives like this are very important to us because personally, I went the backway (illegal migration) but was unsuccessful, so the International Organization for Migration (IOM) trained me on how to make soaps and gave me a machine to sew shirts which I am very grateful for. So, to have this opportunity to sell my products here in the urban area as well is really encouraging and I was also able to make some friends amongst the urban women entrepreneurs, which is great because through them, I am hoping to get more customers from here”.
The market was held at a great location, where there was a lot of traffic from tourists and passers-by. “The pop-up market has been an amazing experience for me and coming here has made me realize that supporting women can be done in a lot more ways and I am very grateful especially for all the sales I have made. My favorite thing about the market is that it is in a great location, it is free, and it is all really organized. But I will encourage The Woman to promote the event on other platforms like TV and radio stations or have artists over as a way of attracting the public. But it was a great experience overall and we would love to be back next year and hopefully, it will be for about a week or so”, says Mam Bass Samba, owner of BellePosh Design, a modest women’s wear brand.
This is what we do at The Woman Boss, we support, we promote, we innovate, we empower, and we connect. We believe in the power of women entrepreneurship and in increasing their financial sustainability. We trusted our entrepreneurs to break barriers and set the bar higher, and so they did. Next year, we come back bigger and better!
Ndey Mariam Camara
Intern, The Woman Boss