Hey Mercatus Collective Community,
Mercatus exists to elevate and connect entrepreneurs of color to new markets. This past October, in partnership with Travel Portland, we showcased Mercatus members internationally. That’s right: we presented our first International My Peoples Market Pop-Up in Setagaya, a ward in Tokyo, Japan. Let’s just say the time there was dope and exceeded our expectations.
Why Setagaya, Japan? – The mayor of Setagaya loves Portland. He wrote a book about our city and has visited Portland several times. So he supported the effort to connect with a volunteer group named PSACE (Portland – Setagaya association of cultural exchange. ). Aki Inoue the Executive Director of PSACE reached out to Travel Portland to seek an event that would offer a deeper look at Portland and our values.
Travel Portland’s Japanese International Tourism Team, led by Jeff Hammerly and Yoko Furukawa, thought the event would be a great opportunity to highlight the work Prosper Portland has been doing with Mercatus, the related collaboration of My People’s Market, and Portland’s movement toward becoming more inclusive and community-minded. Our shared hope is to encourage Japanese travelers and tourists visiting Portland to seek out the city’s rich and growing tapestry of local multi-cultural small business owners.
We brought a few Mercatus businesses, artists and community representatives with us: Alyssarhaye Graciano of Black Sheep Made, Amenta Ibioto, Bertony Faustin of Abbey Creek Winery, Shea Flaherty Betin from the Portland Mercado and Edward Hill from the Black Food Sovereignty. The Setagaya market recreated the feel of Portland’s My People’s Market and yet had a fully Japanese vibe that felt warm and alive. People and families came throughout the beautifully sunny day, enjoyed the many local Japanese makers, and engaged with our vendors.
Stay tuned for more opportunities to engage as we continue to create greater access to new markets locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color entrepreneurs in Portland.
Founder- Mercatus Collective | Director of Economic Development, Prosper Portland