By Rajmund Bakonyi for the Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser
A REFUGEE from Syria is starting to rebuild his life in the Wee County by launching a business this week.
Muhanad Alwen on Monday, April 15, opened the doors to his patisserie in Alloa's town centre, less than two years after he fled the war-torn country.
Alwen Cakes is now operational on Maple Court and Muhanad is not new to the world of tasty treats either, having run businesses of this type before seeking refuge.
Indeed, it is not the first time, the man has baked for the Clacks – he was a part of the Taste of Syria event at last year's Tillicoultry Community Week.
His tasty treats are now on offer in Alloa, including a variety of bakes and cakes, which can be bespoke and custom-made to order, as well as hot drinks to complete the package.
Muhanad had picked up his knowledge and experience with the Sheraton Group hotel and resort company and is helped in the shop by friend Foaud from Egypt.
The cake and bake shop will be open between 9am and 5pm throughout the week for sit-ins or to take away.
Muhanad hailed a good opening day when asked at the end of Monday and was happy to have opened his patisserie following months of work and securing the certificates needed.
He was delighted to have had a good number of guests and hopes he can grow with reasonable prices on offer.
It is understood he received support through Clackmannanshire Council in general and the New Enterprise Allowance, a scheme designed to help long-term unemployed back into work by helping them set up a business.
Help also came from Restart Refugee Support, which provides interest-free loans, advice and signposting.
Muhanad is not the only Syrian refugee to set up shop in the town, with Mohamad Alwan and Neehad Othman opening a barbers on the High Street in February.