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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Photo of Yusef Tunkara

Yusef Tunkara

An entrepreneur with a sustainable vision

Yusupha Tunkara, from Nordic design business Scandinavian touch, is a man who sticks to his values. Yusef has been living and working in Whitstable, Kent over the last 15 years. He has seen the town transform itself to a more diverse demographic and clientele ranging from people who have been local for many years, to newcomers from London and many more tourists during he holidays and long weekends. He likes a challenge and lives life with a positive mentality. His and his Norwegian partner’s Marianne’s success come from a joint passion for the inconventional but also their massive experience in the sector. Marianne already runs a successful business in Norway, a 600sqm furniture store.

Scandinavian touch came as an addition to Yusef’s and Marianne’s shared philosophy: a place where we think how the environment we live in affects our mental wellbeing, a space to embrace sustainability (a lot of the products are recyclable) and a network that shapes their charitable activity. 

Yusef is originally from Gambia in West Africa. His dad was a businessman himself and Yusef has always been in sales from an early age. Having studied finance and banking, he then moved on to work to both the private and charity sectors, supporting projects around homelessness. Having lived with poverty, he is committed to running a business that also invests back in society. His strong values of a sustainable environment, a better society for all and mental wellbeing are clearly embedded both in the products but more importantly in the philosophy of his business.

Yusef’s tips for new businesses

  • Embrace a challenge, work hard, and stick to your values. Once you are clear about your concept, build everything around it and use it as a base to promote your business

  • Learn from other areas and markets

  • Try to balance running a business while you support further development for the wider good: look at fair trade solutions, support causes such as environmental sustainability, mental wellbeing, women in development countries

  • Do not be afraid of failure, ask yourself how you can improve

  • Be constantly proactive, keep busy and learn from those around you