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‘Virtual mall’ to open for indigenous products

The world’s first global indigenous online marketplace will be launched later this month, creating a space for Māori and Pasifika businesses to showcase and sell their products on a global scale.

Social enterprise 5000 TRIBES saw an opportunity to support businesses amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

Co-founder Moana Ellis said it would be the first platform of its kind.

“Our aim is to support indigenous wellbeing by enabling growth and opportunity,” she said.

“We have managed to provide all of the tools needed including secure, online payments for businesses to start making money online and all the hard work has been done for them.

“The question people will be asking is, well, what’s in it for you? How do you make money from it? The truth is, we’re probably not going to make revenue from it because all of the revenue that is generated through the platform will go straight back into enabling continual innovative changes to that platform.”

Any indigenous business, creative or professional can open a store on the 5000 Tribe’s ‘virtual mall’.

There are no set-up costs or monthly subscriptions, but the company does charge a commission on sales of 7.5 percent.

Ellis said the company started taking registrations on Monday, and the demand was overwhelming.

“The interest has been enormous so we opened to start on-boarding business on Monday, on the rise of Matariki, and there’s been a huge interest which just goes to show the need that we knew was there, really is there.

“What businesses need is that wrap around support to get online and to be able to start trading immediately and start making money online to provide for their families.”

She said the business was looking at how it could establish a process so that customers can be assured the products they are purchasing really are coming from indigenous people.

“There’s a couple of things in the pipeline. One of them is an authenticity mark, or badge of authenticity, they’re a little bit like credibility stamps where we’d be able to label businesses as indigenous, or being socially conscious, or having ethically-sourced products.

“We also want to be able to list businesses under their tribal affiliations, whether there are First-Nations or what ever tribe they belong to. That would be a good way to verify which tribes people belong to.”

“We’re on the look out for cultural misappropriation, we’re actually building up a library or an archive of articles and information about what cultural misappropriation means.”

This story originally appeared on RNZ.co.nz

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