Young Espoo residents baked themselves a summer business

Published: 6.9.2021 8.57Updated: 8.9.2021 7.22
Meisa ja Kiarash saivat kesätöitä perustamalla yrityksen.Photo: Veera Pousi

Meisa Gassoumi and Kiarash Javidi didn't get a summer job. They decided to start their own business. They got help from the City of Espoo and Economy and youth TAT summer entrepreneurship programme.

Upper secondary school students Meisa Gassoumi and Kiarash Javidi were faced with challenges when looking for summer jobs at the beginning of summer. Summer jobs were simply not available, and several jobs were cancelled because of COVID-19. However, these young people came up with a solution: instead of finding paid work, they joined forces to establish a business for the summer. Javidi searched for entrepreneurship programmes and found the summer entrepreneurship programme by the City of Espoo and Economy and youth TAT and told Meisa about it. Together they decided to try out entrepreneurship and found the idea of setting up a mobile café particularly appealing.

In their mobile café, Pyöräilevät nallet (Teddys on bikes), they served, among other things, baklava and fresh iced tea, made with their own recipes, at Sorvalampi. The baklava recipe was refined several times during the summer until it finally reached perfection, quite by accident.

- I made a mistake while making the baklava, and as a result, the surface caramelised. This completely changed the way we make baklava.

However, the quality of the young entrepreneurs’ products was not based solely on chance. Gassoumi and Javidi were meticulous with the food they served. For example, the couple had a strict principle when it came to serving coffee: it was only sold at its prime. Indeed, the demand for coffee astonished the entrepreneurs.

- We sold a lot of coffee.

The young entrepreneurs’ summer also included a lot of cycling. Gassoumi and Javidi cycled in total 26 kilometres back and forth to their sales venue in Sorvalampi. With a cargo bike, the trips were a breeze.

- It was nice to commute together. We went up and down hills so many times, we eventually started coming up with names for them. We would take turns pushing each other’s bikes up the steepest hills. We called the worst one Harakiri.

Once, however, Javidi set off towards Sorvalampi alone, while Meisa went to get some milk.

- And, of course, that’s when my bike broke down. It just snapped –  right down the middle. Eventually we made it to Sorvalampi, and it turned out to be our best day of the summer in terms of sales. We sold out in an hour. That was our record for the entire summer.

The young entrepreneurs were also delighted by their experiences with customer service. During the summer, the customers also grew accustomed to their products and they gained regular customers.

- Some people turned up quite often. We even gained some regulars. We gave them our phone numbers. Perhaps we will get to make baklava for them later on as well.

Their sales venue could not have been nicer: the long commute to Sorvalampi and a long day of sales culminated in dipping into the lake every evening.

- We always rewarded ourselves with a nice swim after a hard day’s work!

In honour of the #RevealYourSkills weeks, we will be highlighting the skills of young Espoo residents who have tried out summer entrepreneurship. The goal of the summer entrepreneurship programme by the City of Espoo and Economy and youth TAT was to encourage particularly young people with immigrant backgrounds to try out summer entrepreneurship. Thanks to personal mentoring, the entrepreneurship experiment can also be a viable option for young people who do not yet have access to the open labour market and who need support in developing the skills needed for entrepreneurship.

Espoo has an ongoing #YouthToWork plan, which includes a Skills Guarantee programme that allows us to promote equal opportunities for young people to identify and develop their skills.

Ask more

Kirsi Eskelinen

Network Manager040 639 3351
  • Employment
  • Entrepreneusrship