Black Encounter: A movement to Strengthen Afro-entrepreneurship
Note from BW of Brazil: It’s really impressive to see the number of black-owned businesses in Brazil springing up to serve a long-ignored group of consumers. I remember just two decades ago when black Brazilian women often complained about not even being able to find the proper shades and tones of makeup or panty hose because Brazil’s market simply didn’t consider the black population. As such, although black women in Brazil come in a seemingly endless array of skin tones, they were forced to wear makeup and panty hose that whose colors were intended for women who skin colors were more suited for the European market. Today, there has been an explosion of black entrepreneurs seeking to fill a void created by Brazilian producers and marketers.
The problem that I see today is that these entrepreneurs still don’t have permanent locations where they can base their businesses. As such, they depend on fairs which they promote on certain days and weekends to attract their targeted audience as well as, increasingly, connecting with consumers online. While it is true that Afro-Brazilians have arguably had the entrepreneurial spirit dating back to the days of slavery, in modern times, the success of the nearly two decades of São Paulo’s Feira Preta has surely been a springboard to activating the desire of so many others to get in the game. Of course, it’s now April, which means Encontro Preto, which actually went down December of last year, was over three months ago, but in discussing some exciting things that’s going on with black folks in Brazil, I felt it was important enough to share with my readers anyway.
‘Encontro Preto’ (Black Encounter) consolidates itself as a movement to strengthen Afro-entrepreneurship in Rio
By Cintia Cruz
Not just a nice pair of earrings in the shape of cowry shells, a natural ointment for the skin or a stylish hairstyle. Every product or service marketed at the “Encontro Preto – Consumo Diferenciado” (Black Encounter – Differentiated Consumption), in Lapa, in downtown Rio, is more than merchandise. It is representativeness, affirmation and strengthening of Afro-entrepreneurship. Over the next three Saturdays, starting December 1, 14 brands will display their items at the 33rd edition of the encounter, always held at the Instituto Palmares de Direitos Humanos (IPDH or Palmares Institute of Human Rights), from 11am to 9pm.
The collaborative event has the proposal of re-thinking responsible consumption. A distinguishing feature of this fair is that the products are manufactured by the exhibitors themselves.
“We call it differentiated consumption because people are consuming it from the producers. And is conscious because most brands have this concern about disposing of products, raw material, environment,” explains the Afro-entrepreneus Cíntia Pereira, one of the founders of the Encontro Preto.
Cíntia and her husband are partners in the brand Tendência Black (Black Trend), of adult and children’s fashion. In business for four years, she says the fair expands the possibilities for entrepreneurs: “Clients who attend are already aware that they will consume from an empreendedor preto (black entrepreneur), who manufactures their product. Whoever is going to buy one brand ends up knowing the other and forming a network.”
At the Encontro Preto, each exhibitor pays a fee. This value plus what is collected from the sale of food (vegan) is directed to the reform of IPDH. The institute suffered a fire in 2010 that destroyed part of its roof and damaged the electrical and hydraulic system. “The space lifts us because it has a history. It is a meeting place for black people, in the downtown Rio, and an opportunity for us entrepreneurs, who had difficulty finding an accessible place to exhibit,” says Cíntia.
For Afro-entrepreneur Thayná Trindade, owner of Uzuri Acessórios, the common feeling of keeping the IPDH alive makes the Encontro Preto a family: “We have created a unity and a great companionship for a greater purpose, which is the reconstruction of the Instituto Palmares (Palmares Institute), a very important space for the black community. In addition, the fair works with the principle of the movimento Black Money, where money rotates in the hands of black men and black women.
In the study “Feira Afro: Análise de um mercado emergente no Rio de Janeiro” (Afro Expo: An Analysis of an Emerging Market in Rio de Janeiro) conducted by Sebrae, 75% of entrepreneurs said that sales are better during fairs and 70% make their own products. According to the study, conducted in 2016, 50.3% of consumers answered that the fact that the entrepreneur is black influenced their purchasing decision.
Responsible for research and project manager for Sebrae (see note one), Suzana Mattos, explains that the Afro fairs are part of a political movement: “More than a niche market, Afro-entrepreneurs want to politically strengthen the circulation of resources among the black population. It is a political movement to strengthen the black population and black entrepreneurship. In the survey, most of the entrepreneurs interviewed state that the main reason for opening the business was the strengthening of Afro culture. “
“Encontro Preto – Consumo Diferenciado” will be held on the first three Saturday of December (1st, 8th and 15th), at Avenida Mém de Sá, 39, Lapa, from 11am to 9pm. In this edition, will be the brands Mimos BantuNagô, Ayo, Nzinga, Crioula Criativa, Modash, Tendência Black, Negrita, Makebas, Nombeko.
Source: Notícia Preta
- SEBRAE – Sebrae is part of a system created in 1972 – the Centro Brasileiro de Apoio à Pequena e Média Empresa (Brazilian Center for Support to Small and Medium Enterprise or Cebrae) linked to the Federal Government. Since 1990, the organization became an autonomous social service denominated Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas – Sebrae or Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises. Formally, it is a civil nonprofit, created by Law No. 8029 on April 12, 1990, regulated by Decree No. 99.570, of October 9, 1990, subsequently amended by Law No. 8154 of December 28,1990. Source