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Friday interview: Lourdes Caye

This week I had the chance to ask Lourdes Caye about her professional experience and her growth to build up her entrepreneurial path.

What country are you from originally? Why did you choose London?

I am originally from Brazil. I came to London in 2003 aged 37 to fulfilling a long-term dream to travel and live abroad.

I chose London for its finest culture its welcoming culture and tolerance and for being the world’s financial capital.

Which were the biggest challenges you faced when moving to the UK and how did you overcome them?

Language barriers and Cultural differences – I think this is the biggest challenge for everyone that comes from a non-English speaking country. For you to find your way you must dedicate most of your time studying and getting involved with activities that force you to speak English at almost all times. To some extent, avoiding speaking Portuguese and trying to mingle with the natives is the best way to actually improve your English and get in tune with the British culture.

Finance and work – Having been a full-time student limited my time and rights to work and once again, if your English isn’t that good your chances of getting a good job are reduced.

With my saving and some financial support from my family I managed to stay afloat in London for 6 month dedicating myself to my studies. After that period I started working with agencies and companies in the hospitality industry ending up serving the Queen and country for many years.

Distance from Family and limited acquaintances – Flat mates become your best friends and family, choosing the right flatmates can be a difficult task in such a diverse multicultural city. The distance from your family and love ones can be very difficult to overcome, frequent contacts with your family will smoothen the feeling of being alone in a foreign land.

What gave you the inspiration and strength to start your own business enterprise?

After my personal experience and the hardship I went through I realised that for not being a native English speaker and an immigrant my chances of getting a decent well paid job were limited.

I decided to set up my first enterprise in 2008 to incentive young students of all ages to take a gap year, at any stage of their lives, and help them to overcome all difficulties that would come with this move.

Since then I have been searching for new opportunities to invest my time and money, still partially relying on pay jobs.

What has been your biggest entrepreneurial achievement so far?

I set up SaTT Architects and Designer in 2011 to help my husband back on his feet after the recession in 2009 when his long term employment contract was terminated.

SaTT architects and Designers is now successfully working in partnership with a bigger Architectural practice and helping to deliver high-end residential designs worldwide.

Most recently I have ventured into Whats on in London.net with a mission of helping small and medium size businesses in the service industry to showcase their businesses to local residents, visitor’s expats and to those wishing to know Whats on in London areas.

This project is still in its infancy but we are working towards creating a successful brand. So far we have 3 platforms serving SW, WC and EC areas in London.

What are your 3 tips to those thinking of starting a business in your industry?

Chose a field you are comfortable with: If you build on what you are good at and what you like to do, success is almost certain.

Invest in yourself and in your business:  Prepare yourself for the challenges ahead and understand the legal side of being and entrepreneur in the UK.

Don’t give up – if you believe in your product just keep going. Attend seminars, networking events, make contacts, get a mentor and join forces with other entrepreneurs that can help you to succeed. Contact free advice organizations to put you in the right direction.

Click the link to find out more about Lourdes Caye.

If you are also interested in starting your own business or exhibiting at the next Migrant Business Show, check out our websites mi-hub.com & migrantbusinessshow.com and contact me!