Malike Anthony, an immigrant from Togo
in West Africa, came to the U.S. to study business and obtain his MBA. To support himself, he worked in a Halal
grocery, Accra Market in East Hartford.
Accra is the capital of Ghana;
Halal are the dietary laws of the region’s growing Muslim
Skilled at butchering meat in
accordance with strict Muslim law, Mr. Anthony sought to open his own Halal
supermarket in Hartford and identified a location. However, an offer of overseas financing was
withdrawn when this country’s immigration policies changed.
Mr. Anthony explored several
options to take commercial advantage of his trans-Atlantic ties. He developed relationships with several
coffee plantations in Togo and the Ivory Coast seeking to find export
markets. He studied and navigated U.S.
import regulations. Through
International Hartford, Mr. Anthony met and signed a distribution contract with
a distributor and retailer of imported, single estate coffees.
Feliciano, right, shown with his completed business plan, a prerequisite to
A young man in his 20s,
Ricardo Feliciano inherited from his mother a unique recipe for sofrito, a
Latin cooking base, and her customer list.
He identified a vacant warehouse in Hartford’s South End, suitable for
conversion to a food production factory.
With International Hartford’s
guidance and assistance, Mr. Feliciano wrote a comprehensive business plan and
applied to a non-profit lender for financing.
Mr. Feliciano won $150,000 in loans and grants, built out his factory
and now employs 4 full-time and 2 part-time in food production. Producing 85 cases a month, his product is
now in demand in three states, and additional products are being contemplated.