From Kabul to Northwest Arkansas – Joseph Amin’s Inspiring Journey

Welcome to Canopy Conversations, where we bring you candid and unscripted chats about the work of refugee resettlement in Northwest Arkansas. Together, let’s uncover the diverse experiences and perspectives that shape our community. Meet Joseph Amin, a young gentleman whose journey from Kabul, Afghanistan, to becoming a successful business owner in Northwest Arkansas is nothing short of remarkable. In this interview Joseph shares his experiences, challenges, and triumphs as he built his life and business in a new land. 

Joseph, tell us a bit about your background and what life was like for you growing up in Kabul, Afghanistan?

“Thank you for having me. My name is Joseph Amin, and I grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan. I graduated from Kabul University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. I worked for a major construction company, implementing big projects like building airports and governmental buildings. However, everything changed in August 2021 when the United States left Afghanistan, and the Taliban regained power. My life was in danger, so I had to escape.”

The situation in Afghanistan changed drastically in August 2021. Can you describe your experience and the journey you took to get to the United States?

“The situation got very bad. By the help of the U.S. Army, we flew from Afghanistan to Qatar, then Germany, and finally to the United States. For the first three months, I stayed in an army camp in Indiana. After that, USCIS resettled me in Northwest Arkansas. The culture shock was significant. Back in Afghanistan, everything is close together, but here, you need to know how to use the bus and make appointments for everything. Day by day, I got familiar with the new lifestyle, got my driving license, and found an apartment. With the help of Canopy and their self-sufficiency program, we managed to stand on our own feet.”

What inspired you to take the leap into entrepreneurship and what kind of business did you establish?

“Given my experience in the construction industry, I realized that subcontractors could make a lot more money compared to my salary. When I arrived in the U.S., I saved up some money from my job at a production company in Fayetteville and decided to start my own business, Cyrus Services. We provide parking lot maintenance services, including line striping, crack filling, seal coating, and signage. Our first project was a parking lot in Fayetteville, and now we are growing, working with larger clients like Arvest Bank.”

How do you get the word out about your business?

“I often visit properties with poorly maintained parking lots and introduce myself to the decision-makers. Offering free estimates and convincing them of the importance of a well-maintained parking lot helps me secure projects. Networking and direct communication have been crucial in growing my business.”

As you’ve entered the American business world, how are you navigating work-life balance?

“As an entrepreneur, you’re always working and thinking about how to grow your business. It’s stressful because income isn’t constant, but I believe in myself and my vision. Despite the challenges, I find satisfaction in seeing my business grow. I am hopeful for the future and motivated to keep pushing forward.”

How has your interaction with other business owners in Northwest Arkansas been?

“People in Northwest Arkansas have been incredibly welcoming and supportive. My accent often catches people’s attention, making them more likely to listen to my pitch. The community here is very nice and educated, which makes business interactions positive. The region’s welcoming nature has been a great asset for me.”

What advice would you give to other newcomers or aspiring entrepreneurs?

“If you have a passion for something, pursue it. You’ll face challenges, but patience and persistence are key. Start a business that fulfills a need in the community, and don’t give up, even when times get tough. The support I’ve received from Canopy and the local community has been invaluable.”

Finally, for our listeners who might need parking lot maintenance services, how can they get in touch with you and learn more about your offerings?

“We provide parking lot maintenance services across Northwest Arkansas. You can visit our website at cyrusservice.com or call me directly at 479-466-8128. We’re looking to rent an office in Springdale soon, but for now, we’re easily reachable through our website and phone.”

Joseph, it has been an absolute pleasure hearing your story. Your journey is a testament to resilience and the entrepreneurial spirit. We are grateful to have you in our community and as part of the Canopy family.

For our listeners, if you’re looking to refurbish or maintain your parking lots, be sure to reach out to Joseph at Cyrus Services. Thank you again for tuning in, and we look forward to bringing you more inspiring stories in our next episode.

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