Talk about success

This is the dream, and it is happening every day in Columbia. Some of the most wonderful experiences, products, and services are in the hands of refugees who have made the most of their opportunities. From restaurants to shops, these local businesses are owned and run by refugees.

Shwe Market International Foods

Shwe Market International Foods is a grocery store owned by Cing Cing, a refugee that moved to Columbia over 10 years ago from Burma.

The grocery store offers produce, frozen meat, rice, noodles, sauces, and a variety of foods that are staples among Columbia’s Asian population as well as residents who have incorporated Asian goods into their own culture. It is located at 800 Vandiver Dr., Columbia, MO 65201

Tiger Chef restaurant

Tiger Chef is a restaurant owned by a local refugee named Sai Tai. He is a very entrepreneurial man who employs many refugees.

The restaurant has Thai-Burmese Cuisine and is located at 907 Rain Forest Pkwy, Columbia, MO 65202. They are open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 AM-9 PM. They even deliver! View their menu at

African Market International

African Market International Food Market is owned by Mahinga Tubirori, a refugee from the Congo. After getting tired of driving to St. Louis to buy the African food he loved, he opened his own. Not only does he provide the taste-of-home products, but he also works to build relationships with his customers and helps them whenever they are in need. At the beginning of the pandemic, Tubirori gave his cell number to customers and offered to deliver food when they couldn’t make it to the store.

When a customer finds something at the African Market they couldn’t find in a big-box store, he knows he’s done his job! We are very proud of Mahinga and grateful for what he provides to our community!

African Market is located at 1004 Old 63 N, Columbia, MO 65201. It is open 9:30 AM-7 PM Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday.

The Syrian Kitchen

Ahmad Alkadah ( Owner/Head Chef )

Alkadah, formerly of Daraa, Syria, was a student of geography in his home country. With the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Alkadah initially sought refuge in Jordan before immigrating to the United States. More than a decade later, Alkadah is a restaurateur operating The Syrian Kitchen at 600 Business Loop 70 West, which opened on March 1, 2022.
View their menu at

Myanmar Kitchen

Saw Saw Aate(Owner)

Saw Saw is the sister of Cing Cing Hlamyo, owner of Shwe Market. Entrepreneurship apparently runs in the family! Myanmar Kitchen opened in March 2024 and serves delicious, authentic, Burmese/Thai food. Myanmar Kitchen is located at 1301 Vandiver Dr # J. Visit their menu here.

SB Woven Designs

In a province not far from Kabul, Afghanistan, generations of women have woven rugs and passed this knowledge on to their daughters. SB Woven Designs was started by two cousins who learned their craft at the age of fifteen in Afghanistan. Now mothers themselves, they would like to continue the tradition of entrepreneurship that started generations ago. They welcome custom orders!

NH Jewelry

The artisan, originally from Afghanistan, is passionate about starting her new business making beautiful pieces of costume jewelry. She is a young wife and mother who is excited to supplement the family’s income with sales from her creations.