Pop-up market to help Pasifika businesses hit by Covid-19 kicks off in West Auckland

Source: 1News

A groundbreaking vision to help Pasifika businesses and people hit hard by Covid-19 is about to kick off in Auckland.

Dozens of small and start-up businesses are being offered temporary free space at a venue which will feature a market and wraparound services for the community.

Popup 828 is the vision of Saia Latu, wanting to empower his community; his company is building a market with a difference.

"A lot of our people are out of jobs, some are homeless and this place here will give them a bit of hope they can come in see an opportunity and connect with other people," Latu told 1 NEWS.

It comes as a corner of Auckland’s Avondale is offering free space for vendors, such as families who run businesses from home. Agencies will also be on-site to give advice.

In the first 24 hours when applications opened, more than 40 groups signed up to be part of the venture. Since then numbers have grown so fast, sellers will have to take it in turn to be there.

One of the successful applicants was Lila Taulapiu, whose small business - inspirational messages in various Pacific languages - has taken a significant hit from Covid.

“As a small business margins are really small, the market is unique and it’s such an encouragement for a small business owner to have... not a handout, but it’s definitely a hand-up,” Taulapiu says.

Among the craft and food stalls, there'll be income opportunities for youth.

“If they haven’t chosen their career pathway, there's going to be a lot of experience and specialists here where they can learn from,” says project manager Lili Kawaguchi.

The local police will also have their own stall - coffee with a cop.

“We want everyone to come together to connect and collaborate and walk away and say, 'I know where I want to go from here'," Kawaguchi says.