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Businesses that connect people with their home countries

culture, image source DAN NEWELL

Description of the article

Rehan Mumtaz


Vijaya Poppat, owner of the family-owned eatery 'Poppat Mithai & Fursan', and her mostly all-female team are so engrossed in dealing with customers in multiple languages that a news-savvy journalist can't help but wonder. Let alone they barely have time to sit with anyone and the reason for this is their busy schedule.

Vijaya started a business selling Indian sweets and delicacies in Leicester in 2011 and has now grown from two people to a staff of 15 and since 2018 has also started the business online. gave

Vijaya and her all-female team have been serving delicious South Asian cuisine in the East Midlands region.

Unlike many other sectors, their business increased during the pandemic. The settlers here began to look for good food. Flavors that they or their ancestors brought to Britain from other countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The team chose Vijaya's son Shyam to speak to the BBC.

"My mother is widely known in the community that she runs a business and they all want to talk to her specifically to see if she can be a source of something very special for them," he said.

India, photo courtesy of DAN NEWELL

He added that it is not just first-generation immigrants or those who have recently moved to the UK who become regular customers.

Instead, it includes a second generation that is buying food for their families and increasingly expanding that business online.

Shyam Poppat says that the website was the lifeline during the lockdown and now we are out of the lockdown, but according to him, the post-restriction environment has also led to an increase in business. According to him, 'online sales now account for about a quarter to a third of the entire business.'

Apart from importing products from South Asia, this shop also buys products from Kenya. The boost that the world's immigrants provide to trade between countries is difficult to quantify, but governments are becoming increasingly aware of the economic needs and importance of immigrant populations and their race.

Kenya announced in September that it would create a new ministry for Kenyans living abroad, and US President Joe Biden has announced that he will tell the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington next month that he will Want to 'enhance relations with those living in the subcontinent'.

Food, photo courtesy of DAN NEWELL

But what is the number of immigrants in different countries of the world? According to the 2022 World Migration Report of the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM), there are currently 281 million people who live in a country other than the country in which they were born.

This figure is 3.6 percent of the world's population, or one in 30 people, and does not include the children of those born in their new country, nor the descendants of former immigrants.

For this reason, the IOM defines the terms 'immigrant' and 'diasporas' separately from the Greek word meaning to scatter (this emendation is used for immigrants).

The IOM said in 2020 that “there is currently no attempt to map the global diaspora population.

Global trade

What is certain is that entrepreneurial drive has long been recognized within immigrant populations.

A 2010 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development noted that immigrant entrepreneurs were better educated than their local counterparts and more likely to create new businesses.

And often those companies engage in the importation of food, clothing or other goods from an immigrant's former country, as Indian-born Vijay Poppet and his thriving shop, store, and other entrepreneurs like him in Leicester have done in the past. The year has played an important role in ensuring India's exports to the UK totaling $10.4 billion.

Paris-based Olivier Hebeyambiri is helping to boost Kenya's exports to Europe. He is the founder of the Kenya Diaspora Market website, which imports food and clothing in bulk from the African country and then sells them to consumers across the European continent.

Kenya, photo source OLIVIER HABIYAMBERE

Raised in Kenya, Oliver got the idea for the business when he moved to Paris to study and met other people from Kenya and East Africa.

According to him, 'everyone was showing interest in Kenyan products, but the problem was to bring the products here from Kenya'. According to him, people used to bring products when they went to Kenya, but now it is not even possible for them to do this every year.

So they started the business in April this year to offer Kenyans in Europe an easy way to buy products from home. Mr Oliver added that the business has continued to grow, with Kenyan communities helping to spread the business through WhatsApp groups.

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