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28 Sep 2017


Refugee entrepreneurs establish first salon with help from SSI

The Rajabali sisters at the opening of their salon ‘3Sis Hair and Beauty’

 One of the initial groups of people to approach Ignite when it was established in 2013, the Rajabali sisters have experienced ups and down throughout their entrepreneurial journey, but their perseverance has paid off.

“Ignite has encouraged us all along and motivated us to pursue our dream,” said Ava Rajabali.

The sisters came to Australia seeking refuge from Iran in 2013 and were very keen to support themselves from the moment they arrived.

“Our mother was a hairdresser and we had a lot of ladies coming to the house to get ready for weddings and parties. From a young age I pretended to also be a hairdresser and helped do people’s hair,” said Marjan Rajabali.

Although she studied architecture at university, Marjan realised she didn’t want to work in a male-dominated field.

“The situation for women in Iran is very different to Australia, and women are not treated with respect.”

“I decided it would be too difficult to fight the situation so I helped my mum open a salon and we worked there together,” she said.

Mojgan Rajabali said they were looking forward to continuing this family tradition in their new home country.

“We would like to expand our customer base and of course our goal is to have a busy and successful salon,” said Mojgan.

Ignite Program Coordinator Dina Petrakis said she felt particularly proud of the Rajabali sisters.

“The Ignite initiative has shared a similar journey with the Rajabali sisters of growth and development over the last three years, so it is wonderful to see our first recruits so happy and flourishing in the end.”

The Ignite Small Business Start-ups initiative facilitates business creation for people from refugee backgrounds who are keen to establish a small business or expand an existing one. For more information about Ignite and on how to join the Resource Team, please contact

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