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 Spanish
Photo of Maria Ester Perez

Maria Ester Perez

My name is MARIA ESTER PEREZ. I am 47 years old.
I am a self-employed worker in agriculture. The name of my company is Realón Tropical S.L.

It is located in calle Delicias del Realón s/n, 46220 Picassent, Valencia, Spain.

It was established in 2018 and the main activities are:

  • herbal remedies.
  • aromatic plants.
  • seasonal and tropical fruits.
  • flour, oil, wine.

I was born in Paraguay.

I come from a peasant family, so from a young age agriculture called my attention.
Upon reaching the age of majority I moved to Buenos Aires.

But in 2002, when the economic crisis in Argentina occurred, I decided to travel to Spain.
When arriving I had a job offer in a radio station.
After that I worked in many different places.
At one point, due to circumstances, I started working in the fields.
And I was able to confirm my passion for the land, so I decided to set up my own company.

My husband and my son have been and continue being my main source of inspiration.
They both collaborate with my company.
I didn't do any preparation works.
I launched directly to set up my business, it was like a leap of faith.
Later on I have taken some training courses / workshops.
I invested the little savings I had.

An external administrative agency deals with everything related to my finances since I set up my business.
My clients for now are Spanish shops, but I would like to export my products to other European countries in the future, that is, to internationalize the company.
Given the current growing demand, I am starting to retail.

The best way to communicate with my clients is by visiting them.
I have a website and I use all the social networks I have: Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp.
I personally take care of the promotion of my products, but on a small scale.
I have a designer and a printing press to produce the advertising campaigns.
I practically do not use other type of promotional material.

My company is still small and I want to grow little by little.
I have a network of business contacts in Facebook, Instagram and by Whatsapp, informing everybody about my products.
I do not have a sufficient infrastructure to organize events at the moment. But I plan to do it in the future, because it is a very important way for promotion.
I talk about my business with other people whenever I have a chance.

Above all, feeling fulfilled as a person and as a woman motivates me daily.
Many sacrifices are needed, more than I imagined. Because of the amount of time that must be invested, the surprises that suddenly appear and which must be faced and overcome every day.

A lot of perseverance and faith in the future of the company is the key for success.
From my point of view the benefits are the satisfaction of the work well done every day and of verifying that I am capable of maintaining the company alive.

The most relevant skills and competences to perform my business successfully are:

  • specific knowledge of agriculture.
  • in this sector it is very important that you like what you do.
  • social skills are also very important when contacting clients.

As I am Spanish speaker I never had communication problems in the native language.

Of course it is very important to know the language of the host country in order to be integrated in the host society.
I never experienced any difficulties when dealing with people. The people I interact with are usually Spaniards or from Latin America.
I never experienced any difficulties in my communication with authorities.
To learn the native language and to understand the culture and traditions of the host country is quite necessary to become an entrepreneur.

My tips and recommendations for migrants who want to start their own business would be:

  • to dare to start and go ahead.
  • there is no need to be afraid, but you have to be careful.
  • do not be discouraged by the difficulties that will undoubtedly arise along the way.