'We want to keep building better': Black-Owned Market to celebrate first anniversary

An Edmonton market featuring local Black-owned businesses is closing in on its first anniversary.

The Black-Owned Market Edmonton (BOM YEG) is an event and collective that supports Black entrepreneurs in the city by offering resources and events to help reduce inequality gaps faced due to systemic racism.

The group will celebrate its one-year anniversary market on July 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Victoria School of the Arts parking lot.

More than 25 local vendors will be featured at the pop-up market, alongside live music.

“It’s really hard for businesses to survive their first year,” said Rochelle Ignacio, co-founder of BOM YEG and operations business officer. “When everyone was pausing their events we decided to start a brand new organization.

“So even that we’re here after one year and celebrating, we’re really just stoked and amazed that we have so much support.”

Ivan Touko, co-founder of BOM YEG and technology business officer, told CTV News Edmonton the pandemic forced the group to get innovative to continue to uplift Black businesses by creating an online store and curating “Sweetheart Boxes” for Valentine’s Day.

“We want to keep building better,” he shared. “Things are still moving, but we are not going to stop innovating.”

Ignacio said the collective has been able to re-invest $26,000 into Edmonton’s Black community in the past year.

Tickets are free for the event but interested visitors are asked to RSVP at BOM YEG’s website