Houston, Texas. – “Indian food is generally a very foreign concept to many people.”
Zuber Malek and his wife Mehnaz have made it their business to change this, one bite at a time.
“I thought to myself, let’s perfect samosas. Let’s make samosas so well that we’ll build our entire restaurant on them, ”said Malek.
But being an entrepreneur takes a lot more than just a dream. Malek, whose family moved from India to the United States at the age of six, found this out the hard way time and again.
He went to college to graduate and worked his way up in the hospitality industry doing numerous jobs to support his wife and two sons.
“We grew up on a low income,” he says. “I’ve failed at so many companies. I had so many ideas. I just failed. I’ve just consistently failed. I just didn’t have too much faith in myself. “
Malek is not alone.
Researchers at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit think tank, found that people of color are underrepresented in entrepreneurship.
“They only make up about 30 to 80% of their fair share of corporate property across the country. They represent about 40% of the population, but only 20% of the country’s 5.6 million business owners with employees. “
The President of the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance, Dr. April Day says: “There is a lot of creativity and opportunities for innovation.”
WBEA is one of several local organizations that act as a link in the community for minority owned businesses.
“Our goal is to ensure businesses start right, grow faster, and have the ongoing financial access they need to maximize growth and connectivity,” said Day.
They do this by working with local and micro-lenders to raise capital and by creating small business incubator programs that are designed to get small business owners off the ground.
“That’s the keyword … resources. So if you want to find out how you can help minority entrepreneurs, it’s resources, ”said Malek. “It teaches them about finance.”
In August they opened the “Samosa House” in the new Railway Heights Market Food Hall, something that has lasted for years.
“I don’t know how we did it with capital, but somehow we did it. Slowly but surely, step by step, day by day. It feels like a dream. This place literally changed our lives, ”said Malek.
A direct result of hard work, opportunity and the confidence he no longer lacks.
“It was a wild journey. We are not only looking forward to more success, but also to other obstacles that we have to overcome, ”he said.
For more information or help with a small business, check out these links from the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance:
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