Wannamon Lofgren started the first sushi restaurant in central Katrineholm. Today this restaurant has become extremely popular among Katrineholm’s inhabitants. Without a doubt this restaurant is managed successfully.
Wannamon smiles while talking about the hardships she has faced on the long “road to success”. She explains that Sushi Corner would never have been able to get this far without the help and support she received from MFI.
Wannamon, who originally comes from Thailand, ran an own bakery near Bangkok. She came to Sweden in 2002 and studied Swedish at SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) during the first 18 months. When the first period of studies was completed, she decided to continue studying in order to have a higher chance entering the Swedish labor market. She was recommended to take auxiliary nursing classes. Wannamon finished her auxiliary nursing studies and started to apply for jobs but without any success. Most of the applications went unanswered. Due to this, she was forced to look for other ways of finding an income. She had been thinking the idea of starting her own business and started at a restaurant school. During this time she started trying to figure out how to open her own restaurant. But all the possible restaurant locations she looked at to rent on had high rents, and without a steady income she had no choice but to give up.
Wannamon went back to look for jobs, and she managed to find employment as a substitute chef in a local kitchen. She worked steadily in this kitchen for ten months until one day she was no longer needed there. She says that she was taken by surprise when they one day suddenly stopped calling her to come and work.
She felt that she was wasting her time looking for jobs and again decided to explore the possibilities of her own restaurant. While walking in downtown Katrineholm, she found a venue suitable for her restaurant. Wannamon went to MFI to discuss this matter in more detail. Only then did Wannamon finally believe that there was a possibility for her to have her own business.
A coach from MFI, assisted Wannamon in various ways like, conducting a market research, creating a business plan, contact with authorities, providing financial skills, and of course building on Wannamon’s entrepreneurial spirit. They also assisted Wannamon with her loan application and she became the first beneficiary of the micro finance product developed by a local bank, Sormlands Sparbank in Katrineholm. A couple of months after the first meeting between MFI and Wannamon, the doors opened for the restaurant that was named “Sushi Corner”.
Wannamon is very happy that MFI has a three year follow-up plan. She keeps a close relation to MFI as they help her with issues related to the business.
Sushi sells well in Katrineholm and the restaurant has many daily customers.
As customers were requesting alcoholic beverages, Wannamon was again helped by the MFI staff to register for a course which could enable Sushi Corner to be permitted to serve these. Wannamon has now attended this course and will soon start serving even alcoholic beverages.
With pride Wannamon makes it clear that the next step for her is getting into the catering business since she has all the necessary skills and knowledge needed to start this venture. Wannamon has got over the frustration of not having a job, and her dream of having her own restaurant have finally come true. She feels secure and comfortable in her role as an entrepreneur.