Afro Deli founder Kahin named SBA Small Business Person of the Year for Minnesota

Abdirahman Kahin, owner and CEO of Afro Deli and Grill, accepts the Business of the Year Award at the African Awards Gala in Minneapolis on October 13, 2018. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 that Mr. Kahin is the 2023 SBA Small Business Person of the Year for Minnesota and will compete for the national title in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2023. Photo: Mshale Staff Photo by Richard Ooga

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Tuesday that Abdirahman Kahin, owner and CEO of Twin Cities-based Afro Deli and Grill, is the federal agency’s Minnesota 2023 Small Business Person of the Year.

Afro Deli and Grill is a fast-casual fusion restaurant that offers freshly made African, Mediterranean, and American food in a fast, fun, and friendly environment.

In a statement, Brian McDonald, SBA’s Minnesota District Director, said the 45-year-old Kahin is a dedicated business leader and that has also invested in his community.

“Kahin’s unique business concept coupled with the support of the SBA and his dedication reflects great credit on his business and has led to impressive growth to allow him to invest back into the local community.,” McDonald said.

Mr. Kahin who immigrated to the United States as student in 1996 first ventured into the media production business after attending community college before turning to the restaurant business.

He opened the first Afro Deli and Grill location in Minneapolis in 2010 and has since expanded to four locations in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. He has his eyes on a nationwide expansion that will make it the first national African restaurant chain in the United States.

Mr. Kahin told Mshale the four locations provide employment to more than 80 people with the SBA describing Afro Deli’s business culture as “rooted in the belief that good accessible food has the power to bring people together.”

Mr. Kahin will now compete for the National Small Business Person of the Year Award during National Small Business Week which takes place April 30-May 6, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

“I am looking forward to competing at the national level and win it all,” said Mr. Kahin during a phone interview.

About Tom Gitaa Gitaa, Editor-in-Chief

Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dish Network satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.

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