The Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council is preparing to launch an online platform to adapt its Twilight Market amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The new online marketplace will feature regular Ballarat Welcome Centre market vendors and emerging entrepreneurs selling food, jewellery, homewares, toys and more.
The website will also feature a service directory and video performances from Ballarat musicians.
Stepping Stones to Small Business Program Ballarat regional coordinator Deborah Klein said stallholders had suffered financially from the cancellation of many markets due to COVID-19.
A marketplace is also a gathering place for the community and a place to come together to celebrate, to exchange ideas and be with each other.Deborah Klein, Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council
She said the online market would provide an opportunity for stallholders to re-connect to customers and would create a new platform for emerging businesses.
"Participants from the Stepping Stones program are emerging small business women from across our region. They will have a number of products and services featured on the site," Ms Klein said.
"For a number of people, this will be their first toe in the water for working with customers through a market.
"A marketplace is also a gathering place for the community and a place to come together to celebrate, to exchange ideas and be with each other.
"During this isolation period I think it is important to try to provide some of those hubs and nodes."
Nyibol Deng is looking forward to offering her handmade products on the online platform.
The Ballarat resident launched her business A Tuk late last year, selling handmade cushion covers and bags using African materials.
"The idea of the business came up when I was in the A Pot of Courage group. I got the idea there and then realised I could start doing this as a business," Ms Deng said.
"I have sold my products at the Twilight Market before. It was really good to be able to show part of my culture there."
Ms Deng is working to grow the business with friends who make African beads and crocheted items.
She said she was continuing to learn how to run the business with limited access to customers throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but the online Twilight Market platform would help boost her exposure.
Horsham resident Flavia Guardia participated in the Stepping Stones program last year and will offer products from her business Eco Enviro Concepts on the online market platform.
Ms Guardia, originally from Argentina, separates plastic from used coffee cups to make biodegradable germination cubes for seeds to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers.
She said she travels to markets around the state, but the Twilight Market in Ballarat had been one of her best for sales.
"I am hoping being on the online market will help connect me to new customers," Ms Guardia said.
The online marketplace will launch at 7pm on Thursday as part of Refugee Week at twilightmarket.brmc.org.au.
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