Her love of cooking started in Somalia
Hawa developed a love for cooking as a child in Somalia and dreamed of opening her own business to share her food with others. Hawa carried this dream with her from Somalia to Kenya where she lived in a refugee camp and cooked with the food she received from U.S. Government aid programs. While making plans to immigrate to the U.S., she dreamed of opening her own business so that she could give back and help other people who are struggling in the U.S. and Africa.
“Back home, those opportunities are rare”
Upon arriving in Seattle in 2004, she had a dream but wasn’t sure how to make it a reality. “Back home, those opportunities are rare. Here people are ready to help, in America everything is possible. If you work hard, you can pursue what you like.” After operating a coffee shop in Tukwila, Hawa learned the ups and downs of small business ownership and eventually had to close the business. She got a job in a childcare center and continued to share her food with friends and neighbors. Her hot sauce became a sensation in the community and she began getting requests from people who wanted to buy it or sell it in their markets.
“I had the idea, but I didn’t know where to start”
“I had the idea, but I didn’t know where to start.” That’s when she learned about Ventures through Project Feast, a partner organization. In the summer of 2016, Hawa enrolled in our Business Basics Course and after graduation, enrolled in Ventures’ Packaged Foods Course and Marketing Course.
Through Ventures’, Hawa has access to a commercial kitchen and assistance to complete the paperwork for her licensing and insurance for Safi Hot Sauce. She is working with Ventures to test the shelf-life of her sauce, refine her packaging, determine pricing, and get her product into our retail store in Pike Place Market, the Ventures Marketplace. When asked about her plans, Hawa said “Ventures can help me every step, they love my product.”
“Ventures can help me every step”
Hawa is on the brink of success. She knows that Ventures is here to help her take the next steps to launch her business and make her dream a reality. In 2016, supporters like you provided the funds and volunteer hours to equip Ventures to serve over 800 entrepreneurs. When you give to Ventures you are empowering entrepreneurs like Hawa to improve their lives and communities through small business ownership. We believe in her product and her dream. Join us to make that dream come true.