Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Papa Gueye

Papa GueyePapa Gueye says he came to the United States for the same reasons many immigrants do: “Looking for new opportunities, escaping persecution, trying to better our lives.”

After spending a few months in New York City, Papa came to Louisville in 1997 on the advice of a friend, who told him it was a nice place to live, “especially if you want to go to school,” which—along with perfecting his English—was his primary focus.

Along the way, he noticed he and others in his community were having a hard time accessing one of the comforts of home; West African food was almost impossible to find in Louisville. He says people would make due with goods from Chinese or Mexican groceries, which have some similar dietary staples. “I’ve always been an entrepreneur myself,” he explains. “I’ve always wanted to own my own business.” He started out by using a basic business principle: identify a need, and fill it.

Papa Gueye now owns the African Millennium Market on Bardstown Road. He sat down with WFPL’s Phillip M. Bailey to talk about his transition to the US, the immigration debate, and the American spirit.

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Hear more interviews in our Immigrant Entrepreneurs series, made possible by a grant from the Greater Louisville International Professionals.