Uptown’s airwaves were filled with lively music as the Black Entrepreneur Vendor Market was held on Sept. 7 at the Dupont Parking Lot. It was hosted in partnership with the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre and the Nigerians in the Region of Waterloo (NIROW).  

The City of Waterloo, Uptown Waterloo BIA and the Waterloo Public Library also partnered with them to help bring this event to life.   

Fidelia Ukuje, President and Founding member of Nigerians in the Region of Waterloo (NIROW), said this fair was a goal for 2023. 

“Having a business fair was part of NIROW’s goals for the year 2023. Sometime within the year, we were approached by the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre that they would love to spotlight Nigerian businesses,” Ukuje said.   

The market featured a variety of local businesses ranging from fashion, food, real estate and art. Dupont was decorated with strings of fairy lights around the parking lot.  

Vendors and patrons alike were able to network with each other and create meaningful community connections.   

“From the get-go, it was clearly agreed by all that the goal of this is to focus on black businesses, so we can create visibility for black-owned businesses that one might not typically see or notice in the traditional night markets,” said Ukuje.   

This market was the first-of-its-kind for Uptown Waterloo. Commerce and culture were brought together under one proverbial roof as Afro-beats filled the air.  

Organizers want to make this market an annual tradition in order to showcase the diversity of the Kitchener Waterloo region.   

 “The market was truly reflective of our ways of being. The vibe was upbeat, fun, and happy. You could almost feel and taste the joy and camaraderie in the air,” Ukuje said.   

All products and services were made available by Black business owners.  

Some vendors featured included Plural Digital Agency, RY Closet, SnackRite and The Grillfather Suya Village.  

For more information or to take part in the next market, visit the NIROW website.