Meet Abdirahman Kahin, the CEO and Owner of Afro Deli & Grill, and the winner of the 2023 National Small Business Person of the Year award. Recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to community, Abdirahman has established himself as a leading figure in the small business world. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at Abdirahman’s journey, the impact of his business, and the lessons we can learn from his success.
H1: Celebrating the 2023 National Small Business Person of the Year: Abdirahman Kahin, CEO & Owner of Afro Deli & Grill
Running a successful business is no small feat, especially for small business owners who face numerous challenges. But for Abdirahman Kahin, the CEO and owner of Afro Deli & Grill, those challenges have only served to make his business stronger. In 2023, he was named the National Small Business Person of the Year, recognizing his many achievements and contributions to the small business community. This article will explore the story of Abdirahman Kahin, and how he built his thriving business, dedicating himself to both entrepreneurship and community service.
Who is Abdirahman Kahin?
Abdirahman Kahin is a Somali-American entrepreneur and community leader who immigrated to the United States in 1996. He spent several years working in the hospitality industry before launching his own restaurant, Afro Deli & Grill, in 2014. Abdirahman’s mission from the start was to bring fresh, healthy, and accessible African food to the Twin Cities community.
The Birth of Afro Deli & Grill
Abdirahman’s vision for Afro Deli & Grill was to create a place where people from all walks of life could come together and enjoy delicious, healthy food. With a focus on local ingredients and vibrant African flavors, his menu quickly became a hit with customers. Afro Deli’s unique blend of traditional East African dishes with American classics like sandwiches and salads made it popular among both Somali and non-Somali customers alike.
COVID-19 challenges and pivot
Like many businesses in 2020, Afro Deli & Grill faced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A new location that had just opened had to shut down temporarily. However, Abdirahman and his team quickly pivoted to grab-n-go products that could be sold at local grocery stores. Despite an initial dip in sales, Afro Deli has since adapted to the new normal. Currently, they supply eight stores in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport and fifteen other stores across the metro.
Compassion for the community
Throughout the pandemic, Afro Deli and its owner remained committed to serving the community. The business partnered with Meals on Wheels and Minnesota Central Kitchen to provide home-delivered meals to vulnerable community members. This remains a top priority for Abdirahman as he’s passionate about furthering food security and anti-hunger efforts.
SBA loan programs
Afro Deli has used numerous SBA loan programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) since its inception in 2014. Utilizing the SBDC, Abdirahman was able to gain more insight into financial planning, forecasting, and other important business strategies.
Abdirahman’s community service
Abdirahman is not just a successful entrepreneur; he is also a committed community member serving on several boards in the Twin Cities area. He is passionate about giving back, promoting health and wellness, and supporting small business owners. His leadership philosophy is grounded in “ubuntu,” a Swahili concept meaning “I am because we are.”
Abdirahman Kahin’s recognition as the 2023 National Small Business Person of the Year is indicative of his exceptional achievements as an entrepreneur and community leader. From providing healthy, accessible African cuisine to supporting the vulnerable during the pandemic, and promoting food security, to serving on community boards, Abdirahman has made an indelible impact on the Twin Cities and beyond. We celebrate him as one of our nation’s most outstanding small business owners.
Q: How did Abdirahman Kahin come up with the idea for Afro Deli & Grill?
A: Abdirahman wanted to create a place where people from all walks of life could come together and enjoy delicious, healthy food.
Q: What are some of the challenges that Afro Deli & Grill had to face during the pandemic?
A: Due to the pandemic, a new location had to shut down temporarily. However, the business quickly pivoted to grab-n-go products that could be sold at local grocery stores.
Q: How did Afro Deli & Grill serve vulnerable community members during the pandemic?
A: The business partnered with Meals on Wheels and Minnesota Central Kitchen to provide home-delivered meals to those in need.
Q: What is Abdirahman Kahin passionate about beyond entrepreneurship?
A: Abdirahman is passionate about furthering food security and anti-hunger efforts, promoting health and wellness, and supporting small business owners.
Q: How has Afro Deli & Grill utilized SBA loan programs in their business strategy?
A: Since its inception in 2014, Afro Deli has utilized numerous SBA loan programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).