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I’ve Always Been Independent: Augustina’s Story

Augustina arrived to Minnesota from Nigeria with an entrepreneurial spirit.  

Many refugees do. Refugees are more likely to be entrepreneurs than their U.S.-born counterparts.

Augustina’s mother gave her a strong foundation: “Industrious, hard working, she taught me everything I know about business.” The financial coaches at the International Institute helped her master the complex U.S. financial systems.

“I love fashion. I love African fabrics. So I thought, why don’t we have a place here that sells them?”

Augustina aims to appeal to a diverse customer base by using African fabrics and American patterns. Opening the store was never the end goal. “This is a big store. My dream is to fill this space so you have to squeeze to walk through. I’m still striving to make sure this store becomes huge.”

“I want to train others to be self-employed.”

Augustina plans to train people to make clothes, sew, and braid hair in her shop, so that they can make a living on their own. She knows how good it feels to own her shop, and wants others to experience that independence.

Augustina has been in the United States three years, and knows “it’s difficult to put your feet on the ground.” Her individuality and drive brought her success as a small business owner, and the International Institute helped with the details.

Your contributions to the International Institute of Minnesota help New Minnesotans like Augustina thrive.