Originally from Bangladesh, thirty-one-year-old Omar lived and studied in Poland for four years, where he earned a degree in Economics, before moving to Italy. When he first arrived in Florence, he worked in the city’s central market where he had a stool selling handicrafts, then he worked in hospitality and as a bartender.
After gaining useful work experience in the food industry for over four years, Omar decided it was time to start his own business: he took over a historic deli in Florence, with the ambitious project of combining the typical Italian cuisine with traditional Bengali flavours. With his wife Hera by his side, who specialises in making Italian pastries, he opened Gastronomia Manami.
Despite having saved money while working as a bartender, he still needed a loan to start his business. He got in touch with MicroLab, which paired him with a mentor and introduced him to PerMicro, a microcredit organisation. Omar was granted a loan to start his entrepreneurial project relatively quickly as he had already established a positive relationship with PerMicro a year before when he was given a small loan to support his family.
Francesco Ranghiasci, Omar’s mentor, says:
“Omar took a bet setting up his business, taking over a typical Tuscan deli and trying to include flavours from the Bangladeshi tradition”.
Francesco is supporting Omar in understanding how to develop his business proposition, who his potential customers are, and how he could reach them with his dishes. This innovative mix of cuisines is what would make Gastronomia Manani stand out in the Florentine market.
Talking about Omar’s project, Francesca Di Giuseppe of PerMicro says:
“Combining two different gastronomic cultures is not only a cuisine revolution but also a cultural one, which has a positive effect on the neighbourhood and the entire city.”
Watch Omar’s video.
MicroLab, Youth Business International’s member in Italy, supports the establishment and development of micro-enterprises, small business and other initiatives by disadvantaged people. It is part of the Youth Business Europe programme, a regional initiative supported by the Citi Foundation to help young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.