Friday Focus: Recognizing Immigrant Entrepreneurs


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Several initiatives across the country are in place to help grow immigrant entrepreneurship and boost the U.S. economy. Here is a round-up of the latest efforts.

ACCESS for Immigrant Entrepreneurs


ACCESS, a social and economic services agency, recently graduated the first class of its Immigrant Entrepreneur Development Program, the Associated Press reports. The Dearborn-Michigan based operation, founded in 1972, helps connect immigrant communities including the nation’s largest Arab population with entrepreneurship through its newly formed Growth Center division. The Growth Center matches clients with partner organizations in metro Detroit.

“Historically, employers really embrace an immigrant workforce because they’re dedicated and hardworking,” Sonia Harb, the Center’s senior director told the AP. “When the economy took a dive, it became more and more difficult for immigrants to land those positions. Employers did not then look at immigrants as a priority audience to fill a position. We decided to try and think creatively to increase competitiveness of immigrant job applicants.”

 Competition to help Immigrants THRIVE 

In New York City, Competition THRIVE serves the immigrant community through programs and strategies with the help of New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC), which has partnered with the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College. According to the NYEDC, the competition is “designed to address the challenges faced by the city’s immigrant entrepreneurs, which commonly include access to credit, financial management, language barriers, and access to business networks.”

Five finalists have been selected from a pool of over 30 entries and include proposals for an immigrant-based boot camp program, a New York Public Library workshop series, among others. The grand prize winner will be selected in November and will receive $100,000 to support their program.

For a full list of programs in the running, see the website here.

The Immigrant Learning Center Awards Top Entrepreneurs

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Mass. were recognized at the Immigrant Learning Center’s recent Entrepreneur Awards dinner for their achievements in business. Among those honored, included Rafael Guzman, the founder of RM Technologies. Guzman, who has a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering, was noted for his outstanding business growth. Now employing over 200 employees with a 45 percent revenue growth over the last several years, Guzman stressed the power of education, Boston.com reports.

Three winners received a trophy and a citation from General Steven Grossman, the state’s Treasurer and Receiver.

For a full list of the outstanding immigrant entrepreneurs, read more here.

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