Brilliant ideas cannot come to fruition in isolation. That’s what Selene Gama thought when she approached Ramona Bilmez, Business Coordinator at the City of Tampere to discuss a project aimed at immigrant creatives and entrepreneurs. Formerly from Brazil, Selene is known in Tampere as one of the “souls of the immigrant community”, a name badge earned thanks to her active volunteering focused on supporting immigrant foodies. During her multiple interactions with experienced and less-experienced cooks, she noticed a recurring need for developing an international community giving people personalized knowledge and tools to launch and grow a food business in Finland.
Delivering Brazilian food with love
Selene and her husband Reima started their own food journey last year in Tammelantori area. There they set up a food trailer inspired by Selene’s Brazilian roots and her long family heritage in planting, harvesting and preparing cassava flour. Although Selene never imagined herself as a professional cook, it was the challenge of creating a stable income that acted as creative fuel to shift her focus internally. Tapioca Soul was born as a result, and it combines two of her true passions: cooking traditional Brazilian dishes and lovingly serving the community. “Everyone has a unique background and set of skills. Starting a food business was not my main option because I was already volunteering a lot of my time to several NGOs. The transition happened naturally. I started by doing Ravintola Päivä events. Throughout those events, I noticed a possibility to develop a permanent work that can give me both the income and freedom to keep pursuing my passions. Gradually, Tapioca Soul was no longer a second option, but something special to invest my time and energy.”
Supporting immigrant entrepreneurship is the city’s priority
An experienced entrepreneur and immigrant in Tampere herself, Ramona Bilmez explored headfirst the challenges and opportunities of the Finnish business culture before joining the City of Tampere as a full-time Business Coordinator. She says that Selene’s initiative couldn’t have come at a better time. “The City of Tampere is more determined than ever to explore immigrant entrepreneurship and facilitate support services for them. One of the services already developed is a pop-up info desk where anyone can walk in and receive guidance or get practical help on business matters.”
Selene and Ramona worked closely together for the last months to create a one-of-a-kind pilot program tailored to meet immigrants’ specific needs and daily challenges.
Cultural Business Training
Ongoing until April 2020.
You can register here at any given time.
A series of gatherings, events and workshops ending with a cultural festival in Tammelantori in April 2020
To provide immigrant entrepreneurs wanting to start a business in Finland with relevant information and tools.
This includes writing a business plan, dealing with Finnish regulations, planning your business, tips from successful business owners, marketing and sales consultation and much more. The approach is friendly while professional.
Who is it for:
Immigrant entrepreneurs with little to none experience in starting a food business in Tampere. Performers and craft makers are also welcome to join.
Ramona Bilmez, Selene Gama and a friendly group of volunteers.
Cultural Business Training on social media: