Florida SBDC at FIU Business helps entrepreneur make his Caribbean Fusion Sushi dream a reality.

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Chef Alden Chance of Tropirollz.

Alden Chance began working in the kitchen almost 20 years ago, after he and his family came to the U.S. from Jamaica in 2005. He started as a dish washer and eventually worked up the ranks to becoming a chef.

In 2010, after a night out with his wife, Chance decided to experiment with putting oxtail in a sushi roll and the idea of TropiRollz was born. With a heritage mix of Chinese, Thai and Jamaican, along with the knowledge of Dominican cuisine thanks to his wife, the concept of infusing Caribbean flavors into sushi seemed like a bold opportunity.

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic began, Chance lost his job as head chef of a local restaurant.

“I had $100 to my name. I had a decision make either go find a job or chase a dream that’s been sitting around for over 10 years!” said Chance. “I sat down with my wife and kids and told them ‘Hey, I’m going to try something, let’s see what happens.’”

Chance and his wife began making rolls in their kitchen, earning a few hundred dollars at a time until they were able to incorporate TropiRollz after six months.

Equipped with a George Foreman Griddle, a frying pan and grit, the first year was an earnest success as he built on his dream. From a home kitchen to a ghost kitchen in West Miami-Dade, the business began to grow but it was still short of his full vision. After maxing out their credit cards and giving it their all, the bills were still stacking up. Then a family member at FIU Business directed him to the Florida SDBC at FIU Business (FSBDC).

“When it all felt like it was crashing down, at the perfect moment we were able to get our hands on a small micro loan of $12,000,” said Chance. “And then the flip of the switch the next day, everything got paid and then the real work began.”

Chance worked closely with the FSBDC and several SBDC consultants to build TropiRollz’s business plan, following step-by-step until they started to see the gains. For FSBDC it was a team effort to help Chance realize his entrepreneurial dream. Consultant Mark Mungenast assisted with marketing, while Alina Matas provided business planning assistance and Raju Mohandas helped with accessing capital.

“We turned that negative into positives consistently every month,” he said. “This is a big progress. This is a testimony to everything that we all stand for. It’s empowering, it’s about persevering, about the commitment, and it’s what it means to being all in.”

Now Chance feels ready to take on the world and serve his unique flavors to a broader audience.

“TropiRollz is more than just a sushi roll, it's a cuisine that celebrates peace, love, and unity.” said Chance. “It's where a chef touches the world in his way. Bringing cultures together under one roof, it’s where we’re able to make a positive impact on the world through our food while embodying cultural diversity.”