Emishaw Birke is one of the participants of the Easter bazaar that is organized by Arada district along King George IV Street at Arat Kilo for Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs); she prepares various food items and spice that she brought to the bazaar in her one room home located in Gibi Gebriel. It is there that she sells her items on ordinary days.
“I have made a small window to my house from which I sell my products to customers. However, the sales are not that satisfactory since my home is located in the neighborhood, off the main road,” said Emishaw.
These kinds of bazaars are where she generates a lot of her income and also what she claims are like school that teach you various marketing experience, she added.
When Emishaw first participated in the Christmas bazaar, she was insecure about her products, that they may not be received well and sold as much. Pushed by her frustration, she only entered the bazaar carrying items worth 5,000 Br but the customers surprised her by buying her products while there is still five days left before the closing of the bazaar.
On that bazaar, she generated around 10,000 Br revenue, she added.
Emishaw started her business in 2011 with a 500Br capital, which has now reached around 60,000Br. Prior to that, she had been living in the Middle East for eight years. After she came back to Ethiopia, she got involved in a major car accident that saw her spend two years of her life confined to a bed.
“But at some point I said enough is enough and became determined to get involved in any activity possible,” said Emishaw.
These bazaars, which are being organized in many places in the 10 districts across Addis Abeba are meant to work on the opinion that has been long held by the public regarding the significance of SMEs. Moreover, such events are like a platform to create a networking opportunity among producers and customers, said Konjit Debela, deputy head of Addis Abeba Micro and Small-Scale Enterprises Agency.
Though the history of these bazaars dates back to 1997 with the initiation of the Federal Micro & Small Enterprise Development Agency (FMSEDA), they had not been organized properly until 2009.
Prior to the bazaar, the districts provided the exhibitors with trainings about marketing and communication, said Rahel Demeke, market Development Officer at the Arada district SME Development Office. It is not rare to see businesspeople giving out business cards that help them to keep in touch and develop network with whoever is interested.
Ayalew Zelalem, who has been involved in around 10 of these bazaars, said the event has indeed helped him in promoting his product. He is the only one who carries children’s dolls for sale in the bazaar that is located along King George IV Street at Arat Kilo or the other three bazaars Fortune visited in Megenagna and Meskel Square.
It cost him 2,000 Br to start the business, but the business was never new to him as he had learnt from his relatives who had been engaged in the business long before him.
“I have around seven square meters of shed that the district has provided me with, which is where I produce and sell,” he said.
His three employees and he produce around 50 small and 10 big dolls on a daily basis. He was trying to sell 300 small and 30 big ones.
He bought most of his inputs to produce the dolls from Military Tera in Merkato, items that are used to stuff, decorate and cover the dolls.
The price of the dolls ranges from 50Br to 400Br depending on size and aesthetic features. But these items can be bought for a lesser price if customers go to visit Ayalew’s manufacturing/retailing shop, off Belay Zeleke St. around Semen Mazegaja.
As there are not many customers that come to his shop and the ones who come are usually wholesalers, he uses the pricing as market attraction, said Ayalew. But during the three days since the bazaar had opened, he has been able to sell items worth around 4,500 Br, hoping to make more over the days that followed.
Driven by this same hope, Emishaw has also brought items worth 50,000 Br, making total sales of 17,000 Br within the first four days.
The bazaar, which has cost Arada district around 100,000 Br to organize, has seen the participation of 122 exhibitors, said Shimelis Tamirat, director of Arada District SME Development Office.
The district does not demand a fee from the exhibitors but in a bid to encourage saving, they demand them to buy Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam bonds that range from 800 Br to 1,500 Br depending on the size of the space they hold in the tent, said Rahel.
Before the Easter bazaar, the district held two other holiday bazaars, during which it estimates total sales of 7.9 million Br occured. Arada District accounts for 2,896 SMEs out of the total of 26‚571 in Addis Abeba.
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