Sitotaw Degefaw, EGBI’s recent graduate of the Emerging Enterprises Training Progam, wanted to open a butcher shop similar to his family’s shop in Gonder, Ethiopia.  His desire was for a place where his customers could get fresh, high quality beef and also a place of community for people from East Africa that now live in the Austin area.  In October, Sitotaw made his dreams come true with the opening of Salam’s International Mart & Café at 10009 North Lamar Blvd, Austin Texas 78753 (less than a mile north of Rundberg Ln).

Salam’s offers grass fed beef perfect for people who are looking for a healthier option or who delight in a raw meat cuisine. According to the American Grass Fed Beef Organization, this meat is lower in total fat than grainfed animals, lower in calories and contains extra Omega-3s, which may reduce cancer risks.

Along with his butcher shop, Salam’s has a dine-in area where visitors can enjoy traditional Ethiopian food such as Injera, Kurt, Tibs, Kitfo and Ethiopian coffee. Visitors who can’t stay to eat can pick up their favorite Ethiopian spices to prepare their own meals at home.

Sitotaw graduated from EGBI’s program in June, which propelled him forward to meet his business goals. “Taking the classes helped open my mind. I knew having enough money wasn’t enough to open a business. Studying at EGBI gave me the info to move in the right direction.”  Sitotaw described how Joni Foster, EGBI’s Program Director, helped him face his many hurdles in their one-on-one coaching sessions. “She connected me to the supplier that slaughters the specialty meat according to my countries custom.”  The advice Sitotaw shares with other entrepreneurs is to save money, as financing a business can be a big challenge when starting a business.

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