Etsi

“The path is not always easy, but it’s always worth trying” – Young immigrant entrepreneur event attracts a full house

Fashion, new ideas and an exciting atmosphere filled the function room at G18, Yrjönkatu, Helsinki on Saturday at the Business Unplugged Meets Creativity event, organized by Suomen Yrittäjät.

Suomen Yrittäjät organized the Business Unplugged event with Nuori yrittäjyys ry and Fadumo Ali, the owner of the Ikhlas online fashion store. 

The event, aimed at young entrepreneurs with an immigrant background, involved exciting speeches and entrepreneur stories, Finland’s first Helsinki Modest Fashion show and a sales pitch competition. The young businesspeople presented their products and there was a lot of buzz in the corridors as people networked and enjoyed delicious food. 

Sara Salmani, one of the event’s main speakers, considers events such as Business Unplugged extremely important, especially for young entrepreneurs and those who want to start their own business.

“When you see how many people there are here, you understand the need for this event,” Sara says.

Sara works as a diversity and participation specialist in the communications agency Miltton. At the event, Sara spoke about the importance of diversity in fashion and business. When Itis became the first Finnish shopping centre to celebrate Ramadan in 2016, the campaign was the work of Sara’s company at the time, Qufi Creative.

“During the campaign, a 15-year-old boy came up to me and said it felt as if he were celebrating Eid al-Fitr for the first time in his life,” Sara says.

“You could compare that to a Finn celebrating Christmas for the first time in their life.”

“We get to be seen”

During the second main speaker Edem Agbekey-Taylor’s speech, in which she shared her entrepreneur story, it brought tears to her and her audience’s eyes. Edem spoke about the prejudices she herself and others had before starting her own business and encouraged the audience to have the courage to break them.

“We’re here making an influence; we get to be seen,” Edem said during her speech.

One of the clothing designers seen on the catwalk was Fadumo Ali, who was also one of the event organizers. She spoke about how her idea started with wanting to bring the Modest Fashion shows, which she’d seen abroad, to Finland. With Suomen Yrittäjät and Nuori yrittäjyys ry, she achieved an event much bigger than as originally planned.

“We want to make immigrant entrepreneurs’ stories heard,” Fadumo says.

“We know that the path is not always easy, but it’s always worth trying. At some point it will be rewarded and worth it, as today has shown.”

At first, Fadumo was afraid of failure, but still took the risk. Now she is extremely satisfied with how the day went.

“An unbelievably good feeling. I was really stressed, but now I could do this again ten times!”

Hanna Vaittinen

Photos: Hanna Vaittinen and Turo Numminen / Nuori Yrittäjyys ry.