A Nova Scotia immigrant from Mozambique could be a poster child for the province’s plan to attract newcomers.
Flavia Mabota came to Canada five years ago from Mozambique, looking for more opportunity and a better life. She could barely speak English and had only $40.
Today, she is a successful businesswoman, operating Flavia’s Magical Cleaning and Cooking, and employs seven people.
She started with a single ad on Kijiji.
“When I arrived, the lady didn’t ask me where I’m from, nothing. The lady asked me, can you clean?” said Mabota. “I say yes, I can clean.”
When the woman returned home hours later, Mabota had just finished cleaning every inch and surface of the huge home.
“She went around, she came back, she’s crying,” said Mabota. “She give me a hug and say, ‘Flavia, you’re not [a] cleaner, you’re family.’ This is my story in Canada.”
Two years later, Mabota is still cleaning for that first customer.
She’s worked hard to establish her business, often clocking more than 60 hours a week.
Her success, means success for others, including the seven people who are now employed by her.
“She’s great,” said Kira Harnett. “I ask her for anything and she’s there. It’s great to work for someone who so caring for their employees.”
Rosette Mwamini, an immigrant, works part time with Mabota.
“She’s nice. She’s helpful, she especially likes to help immigrants,” said Mwamini.
Dreams of Franchising
Mabota, who calls cleaning an art, has incorporated technology into her business so each cleaning team knows exactly where they’re going and can see exactly what needs to be done.
She credits the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) with helping her learn the skills she needs to operate a business. She says more such services, such as educating immigrants about the law and tax rules, would make life easier for newcomers.
In the two years since she’s started her business, customers have grown from one to 150, but Mabota has big dreams. She hopes someday her business will be franchised.