Susu TransLation: Chef Training on Park Lane


Susu Cultural Business Incubator has a yummy partnership with the TransLation Vickery Meadows Project in North Dallas! We have been conducting  Chef Training workshops with the goal to launch a collective of cultural culinary businesses. This partnership, led by Trans.lation Project Manager Carol Zou and Susu lead Tisha Crear, is a tasty tale in building bridges and/or just jumping in and swimming across.

TransLationLogoFirst, do you know about the Trans.lation Vickery Meadows Community in North Dallas off of Park Lane and I-75?

Just behind the Park Lane Whole Foods and North Park Mall, right there by Half Price Books, is a community in which nearly 30 languages can be heard from the over 25,000 people living in the less than 5-square mile area. The Trans.lation project storefront is a resource center that serves the largely immigrant and refugee community. Trans.Lation Vickery Meadows was founded by Rick Lowe and the Nasher Project in 2013 to unite the super diverse and truly multi-cultural, multi-lingual and transient community through arts, education and community activities.

Drop by any given day and you will find the dynamic Project Manager Carol Zou navigating resources and co-creating with any combination of Trans.lation community members engaging in a multitude of activities from Aztec dance to sign language to printmaking to Arabic lessons.  Take a look at the Trans.lation calendar that hangs on the wall among the paintings and you can feel the depth of the nature of the work.

Did I mention there is a blooming community garden in the back?

As you may know, Susu ‘s work is focused on the ‘southern sector’ of Dallas, in particular, key Oak Cliff neighborhoods poised for major transition in this era of the ‘Grow South Initiative‘. Susu pop-markets intentionally highlight local good food and a big part of our mission is entrepreneurship around issues of food security.

We have been excited and honored to take the drive up 75 north to work with five chefs from the Trans.lation community on building their culturally unique food businesses.

Here’s what we’ve done together so far:

In September 2015, we began the Chef Training series with study sessions to attain the Food Managers Certification.  After more than 16 hours of study, the chefs took their exams and are now all certified Food Managers / Food Handlers!

Who are the five chefs?

The Trans.lation Chefs bring cuisine from Iraq, The Dominican, Mexico, and Eritrea.  The chefs each bring a wealth of experience and rich tradition in the culinary arts.

More on each chefs’ unique style to come….

In the meantime….If you want a sample, come out to the Trans.lation Dia de Los Muertos celebration on November 1, 2015 from 4pm – 7pm.   Several of the Trans.lation Chefs will share a taste of their culinary offerings.

Stay tuned for a formal introduction to the good eats from each of the new businesses.  

Trans.lation Chefs:

Abdulkadir Hossain (Eritrea, Egypt)
Eman Alzaydi (Iraq)
Ekhlas Almayali (Iraq)
Felicitas Vazquez (Mexico)
Tina Castillo (Dominican Republic)


What is Susu Economics ?


<< Click on the image to view the Susu Economics Intro Video.

Learn a little about Susu Economics while listening to music from the Pan African Orchestra. Read about Susu’s many names and get some ideas for starting a susu circle. Pool your resources! Susu is a ‘small small’ way to make BIG moves. Fund your goals and aspirations. …Want to research more? Click the links below and check it out!

LINKS: Investment Clubs-Black Bank Initiative

ROSCA’s- What’s In A Name

Micro Finance- Credit Lending Models

Ghana Co-op Susu Collectors Association

Ujamaa -Tanzania and Nyerere

Susu Economics: The History of Pan-African (Black) Trade, Commerce, Money and Truth Part 1 (History of Pan-African Trade, Commerce, Money, and Wealth) (Pt. 1)

CBI Definition

‘…introduce yoself, represent yoself….

Defining CBI

The mission of the Cultural Business Incubator & Co-op, CBI, is to launch and support socially responsible business clusters in low-to-mid income neighborhoods that promote community development through supporting local ownership and practicing cooperative economics.  The Cultural Business Incubator and Co-Op is a platform to collectively develop business solutions that revitalize neighborhoods.   CBI’s goals are realized through modules that specifically develop youth entrepreneurship, apprentice programs, start-up and established businesses and community micro finance practices.  

So, what does all of this mean?  Here’s a quick reference guide defining key phrases in CBI’s mission:  


What is a business incubator? 

The idea of a business incubator is to provide resources (office space, training, networks,) that develop businesses.  CBI supports start-up companies and community members with workshops and training, space and equipment and accelerator programs.  CBI supports building the capacity of established businesses by facilitating expansion projects.  CBI also aims to facilitate community susu circles and other cooperative economics initiatives.

What is a co-op?

The co-op model is community working at its finest.  Co-ops allow a space for pooled resources, shared work and shared wealth.  Co-op’s can work a few different ways.  At its core, co-op members are also owners and profits are shared by the members instead of external investors.  Members of the co-op share resources, services and the work.  Members are the voice in business decisions.  CBI will assist in forming local co-ops as a vital part of the Cultural Business Hubs. This will include member and business co-op models.

What is a socially responsible business cluster or hub?

It means businesses with a vested interest in the health of the community in which it exists.  The current strips with the liquor store, pay day loan, food chain, high priced / low quality grocery store is not a socially responsible hub.  A model such as a locally owned juice bar, cultural retail shop, natural hair salon, food co-op and resource center is the hub model option that CBI aims to create.  CBI is committed to nurturing businesses that in turn nurture the community.

Why are socially responsible business clusters important in the hood?

One: low income neighborhoods need and deserve healthy options and settings.  We like smoothies, affordable organic produce and safe places to gather.  Can we take that row of abandoned buildings and put those needs into business there?

Two: low income neighborhoods can build a stronger economic foundation that improves community conditions and positions the people of the neighborhood to assist similar communities to do the same.  This changes ‘underserved’ communities to ‘self-served’ community networks.

Three: businesses clusters or hubs create community ‘strongholds’ or zones of goodness in which the businesses can support each other and serve the neighborhood in a ‘sweet spot’ or active example of the benefits of collective work and responsibility- Ujima.

What do you mean ‘cultural’ business?

The creative and cultural industry… It is our niche.

“…those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation.” If you want to read more about the global dialogue on creative and cultural industry,you will enjoy exploring the work and research from this link: Creative Cities.

The Susu Cultural Business incubator focuses on the following sectors:  Cultural Retail, Crafts, Design(graphic, fashion, interior, landscape), Gastronomy/Ethnic Food/Health Food, Health & Wellness, Performing and Visual Arts, Cultural Aesthetics.   


Questions? Want to get involved?

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