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The Columbus School News Portal

The Discoverer

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Empowering Colombian Entrepreneurs: The Success Story of CLAQ Fair at The Columbus School


In December of 2023, the CLAQ fair at The Columbus School (TCS) in the heart of Medellín unfolded, bearing witness to the dreams and determination of two remarkable women, Isabel Calle and Camila Ganán. This event served as a vibrant showcase for local businesses, offering an array of goods ranging from candles, clothes, and food to even gifts for dogs. From its modest origins in Isa’s garage, CLAQ has blossomed into a nationwide sensation. It now stands as a beacon of support for local brands, nurturing a sense of community and collaboration that resonates far beyond its humble beginnings.

What started as a small-scale initiative has become a thriving space for over 150 Colombian entrepreneurs to showcase their talents. CLAQ has become a symbol of creativity and created job opportunities, generating more than 100 indirect employment positions. Isabel and Camila, the creators of CLAQ, share their journey of turning a dream into reality and how it has become a vital hub for businesses nationwide.

“CLAQ is the perfect example of finding stars in moments of darkness. It was born out of fears and limited resources, grounded in an idea that blossomed into something extraordinary,” Calle stated.

From its inaugural edition to the recent CLAQ Tales in December 2023, each event has been a stepping stone in the evolution of CLAQ. The journey began with a dream to promote their brands, and it has transformed into an influential force in design, gastronomy, and entrepreneurship.

“In a nutshell, Claq is family and friends; Claq is the essence of us. We dreamed of having a place to promote and position our brands, never imagining the abundance of fellow entrepreneurs in our position. Now, our dream is a reality: we generate over 100 indirect jobs, open doors for more than 150 national brands, and welcome over 20,000 visitors in each edition,” Ganán said. 

The impact of CLAQ goes beyond providing a platform for businesses. It extends to collaboration with educational institutions like Istituto Marangoni, NABA, DOMUS, and ESIC Business & Marketing School. Through partnerships, CLAQ enhances brand visibility and opens doors to educational opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.

“CLAQ, in collaboration with Gloria Ramírez, will award four summer scholarships to participants in the sixth and seventh editions, one for each school. Additionally, ESIC Business & Marketing School grants scholarships ranging from 100% to 40% for CLAQ entrepreneurs and attendees of the fair,” stated on the CLAQ website.

Participating in CLAQ comes with a set of requirements to ensure the quality and uniqueness of the showcased brands. The curation process prioritizes brands with a defined DNA, coherence in communication across various platforms, and a focus on local and Colombian entrepreneurs.

“CLAQ is a powerful platform for local brands and entrepreneurs to showcase their talent. It’s not just about selling products; it’s about building a brand, connecting with the audience, and gaining recognition. The fair provides exposure beyond the event itself, helping these businesses grow and establish themselves in the market,” Elena Echeverri, a CLAQ participant, said.

Participating in CLAQ has extensive benefits, ranging from increased sales and brand positioning to growing digital communities and fostering connections with visitors, suppliers, and businesses of all sizes.

“CLAQ has profoundly impacted the community, and not just for business owners. Attending CLAQ was a unique opportunity for someone like me to witness the diversity of Colombian talent, learn about different industries, and appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit. It goes beyond the commercial aspect; it’s about celebrating local creativity and connecting with like-minded individuals,” Echeverri said. 

The recent CLAQ Tales held at The Columbus School in December 2023 was a magical experience, marking the culmination of a journey that started with a simple idea and transformed into a nationwide celebration of entrepreneurship.

“CLAQ is not just an event; it’s a movement. It’s where dreams meet reality, and Colombian entrepreneurs find a family that believes in their potential,” Calle stated.


About the Contributor
Camila Pelaez, Staff Writer