Starting a small business is daunting at the best of times, let alone in a new country with a different language, laws and customs.
It’s a challenge Asha Oza wants to embrace though, thanks to the support of SydWest Multicultural Services.
She’s one of 18 women in a pilot program to help migrant women identify their skills and turn them into a profitable business.
“We know that if we have any qualities, whether it’s traditional skills or outside skills, we can do something with that and earn some money,” Mrs Oza said.
“Not everyone will succeed, but if we start something, maybe we can succeed. And we can have the personal satisfaction.”
Mrs Oza and her husband moved to Blacktown from the Indian state of Gujarat nine years ago.
Prior to coming to Australia, she was a social worker and a magazine reporter in India – but her qualifications were not recognised here, and the language barrier made it impossible to continue as a journalist.
One skill that did translate is her gift for connecting with people.
“My husband always said he does more work in English, but my language is better because I’m such a chatterbox,” she said.
Mrs Oza got involved in as many social groups as she could, and invited other women in her community to take part.
The connections led to opportunities to demonstrate henna tattoo and traditional dance at SydWest events. Now she’s hoping to turn her artistic endeavours into a flexible business while she raises two young boys.
The women’s business course is run by Jacqueline Lobo – herself a migrant and a small business owner.
The course will consist of weekly lessons to address specific knowledge gaps, ranging from billing and tax to marketing.
The idea is participants will reach the point within six months where they can showcase their business plan to the group.
“Especially with women from multicultural backgrounds, it’s a matter of confidence,” Ms Lobo said.
“I’ll guide them through to be confident at the end, and support and refer them from that point.”
Source Blacktown Sun