Bryan and Temi Akindipe opened Arabelle’s Bakery in Winnipeg, Manitoba to have an outlet for their love of baked goods from around the world that couldn’t easily be found in Canada. After realizing that there were several people just like them who were searching for particular baked goods, such as a particular type of bread from the city of Lagos, Nigeria, the couple knew they needed to start Arabelle’s which opened in 2014. The bakery has a retail outlet in Winnipeg but you can also find their product in stores across the province.
Bryan moved to Canada from Nigeria in August 2003 as an international student. When he arrived in Winnipeg he didn’t have any friends or family and any knowledge of life in Canada, especially the cold winters. Although he didn’t know anyone in Winnipeg, Bryan was showered immediately with immense kindness from locals, and it didn’t take long for the city to feel like home. While studying nursing at the University of Manitoba, Bryan met his wife, Temi, who was also an international student.
Although the pair knew they wanted to bring a taste of their country to Manitoba, there were a lot of hurdles they needed to cross as not only new entrepreneurs, but also newcomers to the country. “As immigrants to Canada our idea of what it meant to start and run a business was widely different from what we found as the reality,” Bryan explained.
One of the major challenges they had to face was beginning the process of finding the answers to all the questions they had about things like where to start, licensing requirements, and regulations. Another challenge they faced was securing the financing they needed to start their bakery. The business partners found that many financial institutions were reluctant about them borrowing money and because of that, they had to use a lot more of their savings then they originally planned.
Bryan and Temi found that as they started to write their business plan through Futurpreneur’s interactive business plan writer, a lot of those questions they had were getting answered. They also benefited from the ease of getting financing through Futurpreneur and a mentor which has been instrumental in helping them understand how to brand and market their products and business.
Bryan explained that although starting and running a business in Canada has been challenging (but rewarding), his experiences he’s gone through in life such as holding various jobs over the years have all come in handy when running Arabelle’s today. He recommended that newcomers with entrepreneurship dreams should first seek out information on requirements of starting a business in Canada, and then seek out a mentor that is knowledgeable and already well established in their business. “While the process might seem confusing initially, it’s important to know that there are several organizations and associations in existence that have resources in place to help newcomers in Canada,” he explained. “These resources will guide you through the entire process of starting and running your business.”
Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada