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Home > Life Stories > The Ethnic Food Entrepreneur - Finland - 2

The Ethnic Food Entrepreneur - Finland - 2

The family of Mr H came to Finland from Iraq as refugees 18 years ago. In Finland he went to the one-year preparatory education for immigrant children then to the normal school. Although the start of the school was not easy, he has succeeded in his studies and got a vocational qualification in business and administration.

Mr H was already selling all sorts of things at an early age to earn some pocket money and he thinks that entrepreneurship is “in his blood”. This is now his third company, even though he is no older than 26. This company is a grocery shop which is also subletting premises to other immigrant entrepreneurs. The shop sells food from many countries from all over the world, so the clientele is very mixed. They come from the Balkan Peninsula, Russian, Estonian, Finland, Arab countries, Asia etc.

Mr H is a very active person and involved in many things, like associations, politics and charity. That way he has got a lot of positive publicity for his business in the media. But the best advert is when good experiences of customers are spread by word of mouth. However everything has not always gone to plan. One structural obstacle has been also Finnish legislation. Mr H thinks that Finnish external trade legislation is quite protectionist and restricts the import of some food stuffs directly from the country of origin even if it those products would not be otherwise available in Finland. These are then often imported via Sweden.

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