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Immigrant Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Announced

Press Release

Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Announced

Call for nominations to honor outstanding immigrant entrepreneurs in Massachusetts

The fifth annual Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday, April 28, 2016, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Mass, presented by The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. with Master of Ceremonies and Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash. These awards are an opportunity to appreciate and publicly recognize the crucial contributions immigrant entrepreneurs make to Massachusetts’ neighborhoods, economic growth and innovation leadership.

Nominations are being accepted now through March 4, 2016, for outstanding immigrant business founders in four categories: business growth, neighborhood business, high-tech business and life science business. Self-nominations are encouraged. Both the winner and their nominator in each category will be offered a free ticket to the Awards Dinner. Nomination forms as well as sponsorship and ticket information can be found on The Immigrant Learning Center’s website at http://www.ilctr.org/events.

The ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Awards shine a spotlight on the vast contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs. Immigrants and the children of immigrants founded 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and immigrants now start more than a quarter of new businesses in this country. Here in Massachusetts, nearly 60,000 immigrant residents are self-employed. The Immigrant Learning Center is seeking the best of these immigrant entrepreneurs to honor.

“The ILC offers many people a way to call Boston and the USA 'home,' and I was honored to receive an award last year,” commented Dries Buytaert, founder of Boston-based Acquia and winner of the 2015 award for high-tech business. “Coming to a new country always has its challenges, but Massachusetts has been an amazing place to start a business from the ground up. We're looking forward to hearing about more of the international business leaders bringing great ideas and jobs to the Boston area.”

Last year’s award winners also included: Helene and Thomas Stohr of swissbakers in Allston and Reading for business growth, Damaris Pimentel of Ultra Beauty Salon in Jamaica Plain for neighborhood business, and Laxman Desai of Toxikon Corporation in Bedford for life science business.

The ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Award selection committee will review nominations and select one winner in each category. The esteemed selection committee members are:

Business Growth

Debi Kleiman, Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, Babson College

Denzil Mohammed, Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

David Parker, Entrepreneurship for All

Jose Luis Rojas Villarreal (Luis), Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation

Neighborhood Business

Leandro Freire, Accion East

Denzil Mohammed, Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

Theresa Park, City of Lawrence

Saritin Rizzuto, Metro Credit Union


Abi Barrow, Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center

Kathleen Hagan, Hagan and Company

Denzil Mohammed, Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

Julianne Zimmerman, MIT Venture Mentoring Service

Life Science

Lauren Celano, Propel Careers

Alison Farquhar, GTL Coaching & Consulting, LLC

Frank Hoy, Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Denzil Mohammed, Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

About The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) of Malden, MA, is a not-for-profit organization that gives immigrants a voice in three ways. The English-language program provides free, year-round English classes to immigrant and refugee adults in Greater Boston to help them become successful workers, parents and community members. The Public Education Institute informs Americans about the economic and social contributions of immigrants in our society, and the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture with George Mason University, conducts research on the economic contributions of immigrants.

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