Curry Delight grew out of homesickness. Having moved to Newfoundland from Pakistan, Afiya missed her family and culture, and she found herself longing for the tastes of home. She wanted a good meal, the kind her mother used to make. From that craving came a restaurant.
Even as a child, Afiya had a bit of an independent streak; she experimented with small entrepreneurial projects with her friends, and her parents encouraged her. That encouragement fostered a confidence you can hear in the positive energy in her voice.
Receiving the Momentum award is, she says, “an absolute honour” - it feels validating to have all her hard work rewarded. And it certainly has been hard work: Afiya and her husband were employed in the tech industry while raising their children, preparing meals at the Farmers’ Market, and overseeing the renovations on their building in Mount Pearl.
The work has its benefits, though. The best part of being a business owner, Afiya says, is pride, joy, the sense of achievement that something so personal to you, something you have made for someone else to eat, is appreciated. She loves seeing the expression on the faces of customers trying something new and enjoying it.
One approach that contributes to her success, she says, is being positive and open to change. Open communication is also key: open communication between herself and her husband, and with customers, provides information that helps her to work on quality control and be creative for the future.
Afiya feels inspired by her husband and work partner, who is “a huge supporter” and inspiration. The food industry is a tough one; it’s easy to be overworked, so he and the children keep her grounded. The community is also an inspiration - every day since her arrival, she says, the community has helped her, even through the tough times in 2020. She wants to give back in a traditional way, by sharing food.
In the future, Afiya would like to be able to offer more products and services, to respond to a broader range of food requirements, to partner with other businesses and collaborate more often.
Afiya’s advice to new entrepreneurs: “Find something that inspires you and really go with the flow. Things will always change, so be open to incorporating something different, something new. Also, be ready to work hard and work smart, because there are no shortcuts.”
Momentum recognizes an entrepreneur who has demonstrated significant growth and/or growth potential within a one to three year time span. This entrepreneur has built a business that is adaptable and apt to successfully leverage opportunities for continued growth. Sponsored by McInnes Cooper