Like his father before him, Mohammed Reza is bringing smiles to people’s faces with his freshly made Iranian inspired sweets, ice cream and juice from his shop, Shiraz ice cream in Merrylands.
Mr Reza started learning the trade from an early age, helping in his father’s shop in Abadan, Iran, and dreamt about one day owning his own shop and exporting Iranian products to the world.
“Half that dream has come true with my shop,” Mr Reza said.
“And the other part of the dream I hope to still fulfil.”
Mr Reza came to Australia with his wife and three children in 2013 and was supported by SSI’s Humanitarian Settlement Services program, which supports newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants to settle in Australia.
In a strange twist of fate, Mr Reza had always hoped to visit Australia, but obviously under different circumstances.
“Many years ago I read The Secret, and this book had a very big influence on my life," Mr Reza said. "I always wanted to visit the home country of its author.
“But now Australia is my home, and I am happy to share Iran’s delicious sweets with a new market.”
Given his passion and determination to start a small business, Mr Reza was introduced by his case manager to SSI’s Ignite Small Business Start-ups initiative, which facilitates small business creation for people from refugee backgrounds who are keen to establish a small business.
Ignite Program Coordinator Dina Petrakis said she could see from Mr Reza’s experience and determination that he was a great candidate to be supported by Ignite and its Resource Team.
“Mr Reza has previously owned two businesses which employed several staff,” Ms Petrakis said.
“With this experience and his obvious passion, we are really proud that we have been able to help facilitate the opening of his business.”
Mr Reza believes that Iranian sweets have an international taste that have given them appeal in Sydney and will make a successful export business.
“Everything in the shop is handmade, and people come from all over Sydney to eat them,” Mr Reza said.
“My dream is to expand into catering, and then start exporting to the USA.”