ALMA: Access to Language Methods for Increasing Migrants' Abilities to Start Their Own Business

alma: Access to  Language Methods

ALMA: Access to Language Methods for Increasing Migrants’ Abilities to Start Their Own Business is a European cooperation project aimed at stimulating migrants to begin a new business, to inspire and provide them with practical guidelines in order to start and run a successful company within a new cultural and linguistic context.

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Role Models' Guide / Profiles

The guide introduces active entrepreneurs with migrant background who have become successful thanks to their language and intercultural competences in the partner countries. Promoting real people with real stories, the project provides clear picture on what knowledge and skills are important and needed to be improved and what steps migrants should take towards establishing and running an own company.

See profile in: English Swedish
Photo of Yasin Demirtas

Yasin Demirtas

My name is Yasin Demirtas and I am an immigrant från Konya, Turkey. I am a citizen of Austria and have permanent residence in Sweden. I am 30 years old and I am a restaurant owner.

My company is called Pizzeria Roma and are located I Bergsjö, Gävleborgs län, Sweden. We started in 2015 and our main activities are preparing and serving food, mostly pizzas. We also host dinner parties and smaller events.

I started the company and became an entrepreneur to support my family. When you are self-employed you can choose to work a lot and earn more money. So, my motivation is to take care of my family, not that I really wanted to be an entrepreneur. And, as an immigrant, it is difficult to get a job in Sweden where you can earn well, so that is also a reason to start a company.

When I started the company, I got a little bit of help from the municipality and the authorities, but the most important support came from my family and my Swedish friends in the same business. We did receive some financial company support, but most of the money to start the company I borrowed from my family in Turkey and Austria.

My company’s biggest asset is the customers. We like to think that everyone is a customer, and we can’t afford to make a difference between people. We try to serve all the people of the local community, aiming a little extra at the groups of young people and the elderly. We communicate with our customers mainly through Facebook and social media. We also support and have partnership with local sports clubs for example.

As previously said, our main motivation is our families and to be able to support them as good as possibly. Then it is also easy to make sacrifices and not being able to do leisure activities and hobbies. All the time I don’t work – I spend on the family.

Main success factor from my point of view is:

  • Motivation and attitude
  • Hard work and long hours
  • Good contact with the local community
  • To have a lot of friends that can help you, especially Swedish friends

You also need a lot of skills if you want to succeed. For example, you need:

  • Social skills – everyone is a potential customer!
  • A service-oriented attitude – always a happy smile!
  • Business knowledge – good education!
  • Language skills – both Swedish and English!

To summarize, I would like to give you some tips and recommendations if you want to start your own business in Sweden. This is what I have learned:

  • Never give up! Try again! One more time!
  • Listen to the Kurdish saying: Don’t be afraid of the job. Let the job be afraid of you!
  • Be lucky! You will need some luck to succeed.
  • Learn the language – fast!
  • Be a part of the local society. That is the most important tips I have! Use the locals!
  • Maybe, if possible, don’t speak much about religions or politics. Erdogan and such…

That all for me. Please come to Bergsjö and eat one of my pizzas. I will meet you with a smile and treat you as my friend.