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 Meng Meng Ye

Meng Meng Ye

My name is Meng Meng Ye and I come from China. I am 34 years old and own a restaurant in Söderhamn and also have a newly opened restaurant
in Bollnäs.

It was difficult to find a permanent job for me and my husband. We wanted a good economy before we had children. My husband worked at a
restaurant in Umeå in northern Sweden so we have good experience in that industry.

My education also facilitated. In China, I studied international economics and the trade program. I also worked as an interpreter for a while and was
easy on languages. That is why it was easy for me to learn Swedish faster.

My husband and I had each other. We knew what we wanted and that we would get through this together. We have different competencies and we
build the company on that.

We wanted to find a good Chinese restaurant with the opportunity for development. We checked out Blocket and visited many restaurants between Umeå and Stockholm during our holiday week. When we were going to look at the restaurant here in Söderhamn, it was closed. We arrived on their day off. So we booked time with the owners. We discovered that there were generous parking spaces and that there were up to 46 seats for guests inside the restaurant. We also saw the potential.

We did not have much experience of running our own business, but we had knowledge and self-confidence. We were also lucky since the old owners
and their accountant helped us so we could start our own company in 2015. We worked and practiced with them before we took over. It was also instructive. After some time we applied for a serving permit. It took a lot of time and energy.

We borrowed money from our friends and acquaintances. The old owners also agreed to get their money in installments. The first two years we were
very poor but we paid off the debts. Now we have started a subsidiary in Bollnäs.

We have a well-visited website. Satisfied guests means good advertising.

What motivated us at first was to have good finances, but now we think differently. We want to show our abilities, do a good job and have a name in
Sweden.

Having your own company provides energy despite the fact that there are new challenges all the time. We are responsive and correct our mistakes.
The guests give back and so do we in the form of renovating the restaurant and delivering good food.

  • It is important to be flexible when facing challenges.
  • Giving up is not an option
  • We solve our problems ourselves and increase our ability to solve them.
  • It is important to think long-term
  • You must embrace Swedish culture
  • Have a well-thought-out business plan
  • Be good at what you do in your business