Fil-Canadians try luck at food, retail business

By Alvie Malicdem, ABS-CBN Canada

Posted at Jul 26 2014 05:19 PM | Updated as of Jul 27 2014 01:19 AM

CANADA - In Toronto's Scadding Court Community Centre's Market 707, international street food is a big hit.

With food stalls housed in shipping containers, kababayans were given opportunities to start their own businesses.

"For a typical restaurant or a food business to start on, it's not as much as compared to a traditional restaurant. It's not like a dream, but it's like a reality where almost everybody can afford it, you know," Diona Libunao-Joyce, owner of Kanto, Filipino Street Food.

She said the rent is inexpensive but the space is smaller. "But if you work on it you know, it's going to be very profitable," said

Filipina-Canadian Blessie Maturan, co-owner of Gushi, Japanese street food, said the food business at the centre was great opportunity for her.

"If this wasn't here then I'd probably still be like having difficulty with a lease to open up an actual restaurant but this is a great stepping stone to do something bigger. And it's great for young people and even any person who may want to start or think about starting a business. You don't need a lot, say the hood, your equipment. Food is where all the money goes to and then publicity and all the signs," she said.

As they say, people will always have to eat.

For Allan and Aethan Garcia from Mississauga , the experience they get from eating at Market 707 is always great. They always look forward to having Filipino food.

"So it's great that it's really close by. My wife picked up dinner last night from here. And then she heard from the owner that they were doing this barbecue so we decided to come over and check it out. Here we are," said Allan.

The barbecue was part of Market 707's Friday Night Market.

"We provide [opportunity to] like younger people or people who want to start business. The place for them to do something they want do. Then we just want to make a cool place that on every Friday night people can spend time with friends, family or lovers and you know, have an amazing night," said Shuma Kato, Night Market Coordinator for Market 707.

The Night Market included takoyaki, a Market Chef competition and the chance for other smaller businesses to sell their products.

"I do actually make all of these items. I come up with theme designs and I try to source the materials and charms. I do a lot of craft shows and I have an online business," said Nicole Tirona, owner of Its Your Life Handmade, an online business.

The Filipino-Canadian entrepreneurs have the same tips on starting a business — to follow your passion, know where to spend your capital then pursue with commitment and hard work.