What started as a WhatsApp group only three years ago, has blossomed into much more.
Ola Sanusi is the organizer of Nigerian Entrepreneurs Summer Hangout (NESH). She started it in 2020 as a group on WhatsApp. In 2021, the first NESH event had only eight vendors, but on Saturday, more than 60 participated in the showcase at Kiwanis Park in Regina.
Vendors sold clothing, food, jewelry and beauty products.
Sanusi moved to Canada in 2019 from Nigeria, and is the founder of Entrepreneurs and More, the non-profit hosting Saturday’s event.
Although Nigerian in name, the hangout invites Black entrepreneurs of various backgrounds, including African countries and the Caribbean, to network and sell their products.
“We have to do more,” Sanusi said “I don’t want to restrict myself to Nigerians, I want to go beyond that and that’s why I’m extending myself to Black entrepreneurs. I’m very happy. My vision is coming to reality.”
As someone whose goal is to help and support others, she looks forward to growing the event in the coming years.
For young Black entrepreneurs like Shalom Okegeo, she says the representation NESH offers, really matters.
“It’s important to represent your culture and keep it going,” she said.
Okegeo and her father, Daniel, operate an Italian fashion stall and set up shop at the hangout.
The business represents her Italian-born, but ethnic-Nigerian background.
According to Okegeo, Italian brands are most popular among the business class in Nigeria, thus influencing her to sell Italian shoes, bags and more.
“I’m surrounded by Nigerian people, selling their own stuff, being themselves, starting their own business and being entrepreneurs,” said Okegeo.
Although a teenager now, Okegeo said she plans to take over the family business one day.
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