Councilmember Bagshaw left office on December 31, 2019. This website is for archival purposes only and is no longer updated.

Cross-cultural networking

I had the pleasure of attending Salam Biz Group’s inaugural event the week before Christmas and I was treated to a fantastic cultural exchange with Turkish tea, appetizers, and music.

Sponsored by the Urban Enterprise Center (UEC) of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and Zenith Diversity, the Salam Biz Group was formed to promote cross-cultural networking and business development. It provides resources and education for business owners and organizations that want to expand their customer base across cultures and the goal is to build business relationships between mainstream American and American-Muslim cultures.

The event was held at Fremont’s Istanbul Imports and the store owners, Sureyya and Gencer Gokeri, taught me about making hand-knotted rugs.  It’s amazingly beautiful but tedious work, where every knot takes up to a minute to tie.  Think about 10,000 knots per square foot, and how many feet are in a typical area rug.  It may take someone three years to complete a large rug and in return, the crafter gets the equivalent of a few hundred dollars for their efforts.  

The UEC has been working to improve outreach to and engagement with small and multicultural businesses and Salam Biz Group is one part of that process. Special thanks to Lee Mozena, principal at Zenith Diversity in Seattle, who provided me with pictures.

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