Published: 06th December 2019
How these two Kerala women set up a grassroots flea market for start-ups called Sankam
Azmia Riaz speaks to the founders of Sankam about how they managed to create a platform for young and aspiring entrepreneurs and use it to give back
We find some of our best ideas in college. But for most young entrepreneurs and ideators, a venue that supports you is elusive. Perhaps it was a brush with this experience that prompted Kamya Nair and Sanjana B to set up Sankam by combining their names and their biggest ideas. Their main idea was to give a platform to newcomers who are seeking new opportunities in the market. Their first edition occured on December 1 and 2 at Lotus Club, Kochi.
"We are also newcomers. We wanted to form a platform where other newcomers can show their talents and put it forward in the form of a stall during our event. In a nutshell, it's a space where new entrepreneurs can showcase their talents," says Kamya. Their first edition was unlike any flea market or exhibition Kochi has seen. Packed with shops, artwork, food and live music from great artists such as Masala Coffee's Varun Sunil.
What really set Sankam apart was that their very second stall were set up by children from an organisation called Kottapuram Integrated Development Society (KIDS) based in Kodungalloor. It is an orphanage for children with a number of disabilities. The children were usually showcased handmade baskets, jute bags and a number of assorted trinkets and things. The children make the products and send them over through two or three representatives. This was the only stall that was set up free of cost for the evening.
Kamya says, "We also want it to be a space where people who don't have many other avenues can benefit off of. We wanted to give these children a good opening. This is not just for people who are willing to spend money and put up stalls but for people who have talents and don't have as much visibility. We plan to include a lot more people like this for our next edition." It was Kamya's mother Binu Nair who introduced them to the organisation. The founder of a boutique, she was able to get in touch with them during a visit to a local exhibition.
"For people in Kochi, places like Kodungalloor are just one big 'village'," continues Kamya. "We would direct each visitor to these stalls so they would not miss the chance to see what happens outside of our cities and for them to contribute in some way. There were many social media influencers present at the event and they all exchanged numbers with the children. Hopefully, this is a connection that can sustain itself." By the end of the evening, the children were so ecstatic that they could be seen running from stall to stall collecting autographs from the other creators.
Sankam has been set up in a way where it is open to anyone who wants a place to present their idea. Kamya elaborates, "Even housewives who have a small scale business can find a stall for herself there. It is for people looking to create a brand and name for themselves. Sankam will rope them in, in trying to reach a new audience. During this event, children had the space to plant saplings, older people could enjoy music and anyone can take the stage and sing or speak about whatever they like. Most importantly, it was a space for these children who were undoubtedly the light of the whole experience."