Published on December 3rd, 2015 | by Inès Briard | Credit: Ali Lacin0
“No disability, nor your background can be an obstacle for success.” Ali Lacin
On the European Day for persons with a disability, UNITEE- New Europeans Business Confederation would like to honour a German organisation and a German-Turkish entrepreneur. The organisation, Enterability – Selbsändig ohne behinderung is based in Berlin and promotes inclusive entrepreneurship independence among Germans with a disability.
Being an entrepreneur is almost the only solution for many of disabled persons to not be excluded from the labour market. Enterability offers many services such as individual counselling, seminars on financing conditions and building networks. Their main objective is to facilitate and secure the access to the labour market for people with a disability.
Ali Lacin is a Berliner that took part in this program and managed to open Sweetstore with his brother, Osman, in 2013. They are selling all special and conventional confectioneries but they specialized in selling vegetarian sweets and sweets that do not contain gelatine from pigs. Ali and Osman grew up in a candy world, indeed, Ali’s father was a candy seller. The two boys were allowed to follow him during his tourney and sometimes to taste new sweets. As Ali said, his dad had the best or the “sweetest” job in the world. Thus, after being graduated from an entrepreneurial professional qualification, they established their own company.
Launching this business was Ali’s dream because he believes that:
“No one can develop himself as an employee, the way he does in his own business”.
Ali also mentions that “We are a very effective team consisting of my father, the expert of sweets, and my brother, the media/ marketing specialist. Best of all, both of them know me and my disability, and can deal with it.”
During the launch, their biggest challenge “was first to position ourselves with the name Sweetstore in the Berliner market and then as a new company to attract clients.”
Ali sees himself as a “New European”, a person living in Europe but having connections with more than the country where he lives. He is born and grew up in Germany but was educated in a Turkish culture. Ali also emphasizes how this dual cultural background is a plus in his business.
“I have both European and Asian (Turkish and Arabic) customers and my two cultures allow me to have a better understanding of each of them. I can, thus, behave and serve them accordingly. Since I mastered the two languages, German and Turkish, I can speak my clients’ mother tong to make them feel at home. I also always have black tea and coffee prepared, thus I can serve black tea for the Mediterranean customers and coffee for the European ones. And me, I can drink both! ”
Beside his amazing entrepreneurial skills, Ali trains four times a week for the European Paralympic Championships of Grosseto in Italy but also for the Paralympic Games of September 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. Before the establishment of his company, he wanted to be a full-time professional athlete however, now he can manage both his business and his athletic careers. He is the fastest 200 meters German runner in his category (T42) and ranks ninth in the world.
“Beginning of 2015, I finally got the right sport prostheses and I could really start to train. Now, I am also on a campaign to find sponsors for new prostheses, so if you are interested, you can help me.”
The most important, according to Ali, to become an entrepreneur is:
“to have self-esteem and believe in our personal projects. Then, no disability nor a migrant background will be an obstacle for success. This advice is applicable to all areas of life.”