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A Humble Hustle

This year I took a leap of faith. I’m starting a new season of life and taking a humbling journey of hustling to be a social entrepreneur.

Last March, I launched a non-profit social enterprise called Flavours of Hope that empowers refugee newcomer women to earn a living wage and build social connections in communities through cooking and sharing culinary traditions and stories. We want to celebrate the connections between food, culture, and stories of newcomers to build welcoming, diverse, and vibrant communities. Food has the power to break down social and economic barriers, and to bring people together around a table to learn from each other and develop deeper relationships. 

This year I took a leap of faith.

Through this wild entrepreneurial journey, I have come to believe that God is an economist. He understands unjust economic systems and inequities, and seeks economic justice and empowerment. Justice isn’t complete without economic justice! “For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing.” (Isaiah 61:8) In a world filled with broken systems and relationships, God calls us to work toward systemic changes for justice, reconciliation, and right relations with each other. 

I’m learning that entrepreneurship can be a powerful vehicle in driving social and economic empowerment, restoring the dignity and worth of marginalized people, and building closer relationships between producers and consumers. Being an entrepreneur is one way to live into our calling to image God by being creative and imaginative in identifying problems and finding solutions in the world. 

I’m learning that entrepreneurship can be a powerful vehicle in driving social and economic empowerment.

In Genesis 2:19, God gave Adam a creative mind and responsibility to name “every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens...and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” Writer Madeline L’ Engle reminds us that, “God is constantly creating in us, through us, with us, and to co-create with God is our human calling.” One of the ways that God has called us to live into this cultural mandate and address social and economic injustices is through creative entrepreneurship! 

While I have embraced the joyous and challenging call to be a social entrepreneur, I have also learned that the process of creating something out of nothing takes some serious hustle. The word “hustling” took on a whole new meaning for me as I watched many other start-up entrepreneurs working hard long hours, taking big risks, and doing multiple jobs to be financially sustainable while building their business. There is a deep sense of commitment, persistence, determination and courage to innovate and embrace failures as part of the learning process. 

The word “hustling” took on a whole new meaning for me.

In our Western individualistic culture, “do-it-yourself” is a moral imperative. We’re expected to be independent to figure things out on our own. From a young age, we are taught by parents and teachers about the value of helping others. But very little is said about the flip side: asking for help and support when we need it. In starting my entrepreneurial journey, I find myself asking for more help than ever before from many different people: friends, neighbours, mentors, and even strangers. People have been giving me their time, energy, knowledge, advice, support, encouragement, and prayers. It has taken humility to ask for help, acknowledge my weaknesses, depend on others, and graciously receive help from people. But the outcomes of practicing this humility are stronger collaborations, new partnerships, and deeper social impact within a community of support. 

I have been truly humbled in this season of growing in patience, wisdom, and faith. I’ve had to trust that God will open doors and provide opportunities to work together with others to empower newcomer women to earn a liveable income and build community connections.

 I have been running a pilot newcomer food market and working with three talented women chefs.

This summer I have been running a pilot newcomer food market and working with three talented women chefs from Venezuela, Mexico, and Palestine who came to Canada as refugee claimants seeking a safer and better life where they can participate in the economy and flourish in the community. Through cooking and eating together with these women, I have built meaningful relationships, learned about diverse cultures, and heard many stories of strength, hope, and resilience. We are taking one step at a time as we develop the vision and work of Flavours of Hope. As we continue this winding entrepreneurial path and the everyday humble hustle, may we remember to “clothe ourselves with humility towards one another” (1 Peter 5:5). We need each other!


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