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Initiative helps Iranian pastry chef expand his dream

Post Series: SSI Stories

Once the dazzling capital of ancient Persia, Esfahan is still known for its unmatched beauty, Islamic architecture and picturesque sights.

With the support of the SSI IgniteAbility® Small Business Start-ups initiative, a young baker has spread the name of his hometown to the other side of the world, establishing Esfahan Sweets — a business selling traditional Persian sweet delights on the streets of Sydney.

Mehradad Mohammodian, a connoisseur in Iranian traditional pastries and sweets, became the owner of his bakery business.

“I’ve been baking Iranian traditional sweets and pastries since I was eight years old when I started helping my grandfather at his own bakery back in Esfahan,” Mr Mohammodian said.

“When I grew up, I continued to run the family business for 15 years, until I moved here in 2013.”

Mr Mohammodian arrived in Australia by himself, without the support of extended family or friends. To overcome social isolation he worked hard to hone his skills as a baker and invested time and effort in starting a new business. In 2015, he established Esfahan Sweets.

“Although I started my business two years ago, I was having trouble finding more customers and opportunities, and this is where the IgniteAbility® team supported me.”

Supported by industry professionals, Mohammodian got a new insight into methods for running a business and the customer experience.

“I met regularly with my IgniteAbility® facilitator, and we assessed what we could do to expand my business, such as working on new ways of packaging my sweets and finding more markets where I can sell my products.”

Mr Mohammodian said his sweets and pastries are unique because no-one else makes them in Australia and because he has adapted them to suit the taste buds of Sydneysiders, providing low sugar, low fat and vegan options.

“I gave my pastries to my Australian friends to try, but their feedback was that they were too sweet. I realised that not only what people like, but also the ingredients taste different here, so I have adapted my recipes to suit my new country.”

Mr Mohammodian spent many hours testing new ingredients and quantities, giving them to his local friends to try and repeating the process until he found the right balance to start selling them to the public.

You can find out more about Esfahan Sweets, check out photos of the pastries and make an order on its Facebook page.

For more information about SSI, click here.

For more information about IgniteAbility® Small Business Start-ups, click here.

 

Settlement Services International (SSI) is the principal sponsor for Refugee Week 2019. This series of stories are stories of resilience and engagement from across their network.