Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

As part of Black History Month, meeting with two entrepreneurship enthusiasts from the Ivory Coast who are determined to revitalize the North Shore.

The success story of a couple of Ivorian entrepreneurs in Sept-Îles

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Justice and Gabriel Ahui come from Ivory Coast. Since they immigrated to the North Shore, they have increased their entrepreneurial initiatives.

  • Charles-Étienne Drouin (View profile)Charles-Étienne Drouin
  • Véronique Duval (View profile)Véronique Duval

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In Sept-Îles, a couple of entrepreneurs from the Ivory Coast have made it their mission to help stop the demographic hemorrhage in their adopted region, the North Shore.

To do this, Justice and Gabriel Ahui are increasing the creation of businesses to encourage immigrants to come and settle in the region.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">After studying in Quebec, Gabriel Ahui arrived in Sept-Îles with his partner, Justice, in 2020.

The couple quickly noticed the effects of demographic decline in the region, the only one in Quebec to have seen its population decrease in 2022.

There are a lot of things missing on the North Shore, as in all regions. And devitalization and the aging of the population mean that finding replacement workers is very difficult, says Gabriel Ahui. If I hadn't bought the company I have right now, it was clear that it would close.

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The couple believes that entrepreneurship by newcomers is the solution to help stop the demographic hemorrhage in the region.

After bought a cleaning products and household appliances company, which was going to close after 40 years of existence due to lack of replacements, this family of entrepreneurs opened a tropical grocery store to relieve homesickness through cooking.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The tropical grocery store is mainly because around us, when we arrived here on the North Shore, the immigrant population did not have what they wanted in terms of food and other things. That made people leave, explains Mr. Ahui.

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The tropical grocery store aims to create a feeling of belonging among newcomers. (File photo)

The entrepreneurial couple dreams of creating other businesses to attract more immigrants to work. settle in small towns, villages and hamlets in the Nordic regions.

It takes a lot from Gabriel Ahui, it takes a lot from all those I mentioned before to help break this gap in terms of the devitalization of the regions, he believes 'entrepreneur.

The couple notes that juggling family life and professional life is another obstacle to establishing themselves in the region.

The parents of two twins notice that finding a place in daycare is far from being child's play.

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In addition to their businesses, and a position as an environmental consultant for Gabriel Ahui, the couple are parents to two twin girls. (Archive photo)

For several months, their daughters regularly accompanied them to work. The couple is now planning to open a daycare center.

If I can offer this service to other moms, to other dads who are stuck, who can't go to work [because] of the lack of daycare, I will do it!

A quote by Justice Ahui, entrepreneur from Ivory Coast

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Justice Ahui is originally from the Ivory Coast. Since immigrating to the North Shore, she has increased her entrepreneurial initiatives with her partner, Gabriel Ahui.

Even though the couple encounters several challenges, they are determined to put down roots on the North Shore, a region they chose.

Life is very difficult, but it is still exciting, because I am in a welcoming region, in a region full of opportunities that I decided to choose.

A quote from Gabriel Ahui, entrepreneur from Ivory Coast

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Justice Ahui shares this feeling of belonging from her partner.

When I arrived, I really fell in love with the North Shore. I loved the beaches […], autumn, spring, each season has its own particularity, she says. And then everything is still quite close. Here, we are not in the noise with traffic jams, the people are super welcoming. I no longer want to leave the North Shore.

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