This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Yuliya Tarasava, immigrant from Belarus and cofounder and chief operating officer at CNote, a platform that helps facilitate investment in financially underserved communities across America. In just six years, CNote has helped create or maintain more than 4,000 jobs in disadvantaged communities, invested more than 50 percent of capital into small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), and invested more than 40 percent of capital into women-led small businesses, eight times the national average. Yuliya believes everybody deserves a chance at success, and dismantling the systemic barriers to such success is what she and her business are all about, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers. 

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Jackie Krick, immigrant from Colombia and founder, president and CEO of ECU Communications in Manassas, Virginia. They discuss the entrepreneurial spirit of the newest Americans – immigrants – and why they are twice as likely to start a business and create jobs. For Jackie, it took a few tries, but she learned the system, used available resources, and today, she runs a successful digital communications and cross-cultural services agency focused largely on federal contracts. She started an award-winning nonprofit called Impacto Youth to give underserved teens access to education and skills training. And she cofounded Centerfuse, a coworking space for microentrepreneurs to discover, learn, train and be mentored by successful business owners like her, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers. 

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Artur Sousa, immigrant from Brazil and founder and CEO of Adopets, an online platform that simplifies the work done by shelters and improves the pet adoption experience. Adopets has over 40,000 registered users and maintains more than 300,000 adoption listings. In this week’s JobMakers, Artur describes how opportunity, capitalism, circumstance and a rescue pup successfully aligned to fuel his social entrepreneurship success; though he is keenly aware that not every immigrant shares in the American Dream.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Karina Calderon, deputy director of The Lawrence Partnership, about her work to help immigrant entrepreneurs drive economic growth in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The Lawrence Partnership is a collaboration of business and civic leaders started in 2015 that helps by incubating, training, assisting, loaning, basically doing everything they and their partners can to grow the city’s businesses. The model they’ve adopted is replicable for sure, and is one based on longstanding relationships and trust between new and longtime residents. Karina explains how it works, shares some of the success stories of their immigrant small business owners, and details her own immigration story, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.  

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Evan Silverio, child of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, President and CEO of Silverio Insurance Agency, and founder of Diverse Real Estate, both in Lawrence, Massachusetts. With the example set by his mother, who founded the agency, Evan has achieved success, despite getting into real estate during a housing bust. Evan has since purchased nearly 100 properties across the commonwealth. He describes the examples set by his immigrant mother and grandfather, and how that shaped not just his approach to business but also giving back to the community that nurtured him, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Abul Islam, immigrant from Pakistan and founder, President and CEO of AI Engineers. America needs solid infrastructure to grow the economy, to ensure we can get to work, ship supplies, and travel freely. But who’s doing the rebuilding? AI Engineers is a Connecticut-based consulting firm that builds and rehabilitates bridges, transportation systems and building systems throughout the U.S. Since 1991, Abul has created nearly 1,000 jobs and today leads a $50 million company. He talks about the power of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to uplift urban centers. While we draw talent from international students and H-1B workers, he believes the U.S. must create a homegrown pipeline of skilled workers, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Roger Magalhaes, immigrant from Brazil and founder of the firms Shades in Place window treatment installation and Trading Up Consulting, in Franklin, Massachusetts. They discuss how Roger built his successful business from the ground up, took advantage of every opportunity here in the U.S. to advance, and became one of the most influential leaders in his field. He’s even now training his competitors. Roger is also the 2022 Barry M. Portnoy Immigrant Entrepreneur Awardee for Business Growth, an annual honor bestowed by The Immigrant Learning Center, co-producer of this podcast. Now an American citizen, Roger shares his belief that immigrants must “Americanize” in order to fulfil their potential and have the biggest impact, a debatable view but one rooted in his own experience and success, as you’ll hear more about in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Avak Kahvejian, an inventor, entrepreneur and CEO as well as general partner at Flagship Pioneering, a life sciences venture capital company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For generations, his family was forced to flee from genocide in what was then Armenia (now eastern Turkey), to Syria, Lebanon, and then to Montreal, Canada, via the U.K., and finally, by choice, to Boston.   His risk-taking, persistence, and ambition drove him to a place where people from all over the world come to innovate, ideate, and create: the United States. America has always attracted this kind of person, and that’s what has made it into the powerhouse it is today. As Avak cautions, if that well were to run dry, the result would be disastrous for all of us, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Celina Miranda, executive director of the Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain’s Latin Quarter, today one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Massachusetts. Dr. Miranda knows keeping the kids in school, firm in their cultural identity, and welcoming to all others is crucial to maintaining the area’s renewed stature. And she knows how hard their immigrant business owners, from countries as diverse as Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala, are working to make that happen. This week, we’ll look at how immigrant entrepreneurs contribute to sustaining their neighborhoods and people economically, philanthropically, and socially. Dr. Miranda hopes the example of Jamaica Plain’s Latin Quarter and the role of its business owners would be replicated in communities across the U.S. to help overcome our heightened divisiveness, as you’ll learn now on JobMakers.

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Celina Miranda is the executive director of Hyde Square Task Force. Miranda has spent her career engaged in work that enables underserved communities to access the resources and opportunities they need for a better future. Miranda joined HSTF from her position as senior program officer at the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, where she managed grants in education and economic mobility since 2012. Prior to this, she was the vice president and charitable giving manager for BNY Mellon Public Affairs. As a program associate at the Hyams Foundation, she managed youth development grants and initiatives. Miranda teaches at Boston University School of Social Work and is a trustee of the Rutland Corner Foundation, which supports girl-serving programs throughout Greater Boston. She was named a “Boston Latino on the Move” by the Boston Business Journal. Miranda received her Ph.D. in social work and sociology from Boston University. She earned an MSW and Ed.M. from Boston University, and a BA from Smith College.

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Theresa Park, Deputy Director and Senior Executive Vice President at MassDevelopment, a group that offers financing and real estate solutions to drive economic growth across Massachusetts. An immigrant from Korea who moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts, Theresa saw first-hand how immigrants built their lives from the ground up, and in so doing brought economic and cultural vibrancy to their new home cities. And when she went on to work for cities like Lowell and Lawrence, she herself was the one to reach out to immigrant-owned businesses, nurture their growth, and see their broad impact. In this week’s JobMakers, Theresa talks us through her experience with immigrant business owners, how she developed their trust, how she celebrates them, and the many ways they enrich their new homeland.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Reinier Moquete, son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and founder of CyberWarrior, a cyber security services provider in Boston, Massachusetts. Reinier shares why he is continuing the entrepreneurial tradition started by his grandmother and mother, who moved to the U.S. in search of a better quality of life for their families. Reinier describes his efforts to give back to the country that gave his family a chance, through non-profits and foundations he has launched that elevate disadvantaged communities, expose children to STEM education, and uplift particularly Latinx people in the U.S., as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dinesh Wadhwani, founder and CEO of ThinkLite, LLC in Natick, Massachusetts, and immigrant from Ghana. His journey began when his grandfather was forced to flee India, and built a business in Ghana that paved the way for the generations to come. When Dinesh moved to the United States in 2008 as a student at Babson College, he was determined to build a life and a business here in the U.S. While he was studying entrepreneurship, he became one: in just a few short years, his technology-based life science solutions business expanded across the globe and evolved into a life-saving enterprise, purifying the air in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Anuradha Sajjanhar, lead researcher for the report Immigrant Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic published by The Immigrant Learning Center, co-producer of this podcast. She found that immigrants, despite playing an outsized role in industries deemed essential. such as healthcare, food and agriculture, and the supply chain, were largely left out of federal and state support during the pandemic, which negatively affected their safety and their efforts to help Americans weather this crisis. The report offers a path forward, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Rodrigo Souza, immigrant from Brazil and owner of Comeketo Brazilian Steakhouse in Leominster, Massachusetts. Drawing on the resourcefulness and doggedness of his Brazilian culture, Rodrigo built a successful business here in the United States, creating around 400 jobs since his restaurant opened in 2009. Offering rodízio-style service, Comeketo won the People’s Choice Award in the 2020 Worcester, Massachusetts Best Chef Competition. Even during the pandemic, Rodrigo found new and inventive ways of generating revenue and keeping people employed. He’s also given back to the country that took him in, from his three years in the U.S. Army to feeding the town’s homeless, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Gaetan Kashala, immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, co-founder of Globex Corporate, a consulting firm connecting the U.S. to Central and Western African businesses and governments, and also the engagement director for AIM, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. Gaetan has built a career helping immigrant and other minority small business owners in the Bay State by giving them the opportunity for a crack at the American Dream. And he’s seen the results: thriving businesses, growing families and community development. He shares their stories and his own, of a legacy built by his father in Cambridge, in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with David Keane, immigrant from Australia and founder of Bigtincan, an artificial-intelligence-powered sales enablement platform for leading companies worldwide. David believes that what makes the U.S. special is its culture both of welcoming immigrants and being willing to try new things, to take risks. In the United States, visas and exchange programs have allowed for the movement of ideas, skills and knowledge into the country. For him, that movement of people is a risk worth taking. A diversity of thought and background can bring about incredible new ideas, products and services, like his industry-leading company, not to mention create thousands of jobs as he’s done over the years.  He wonders, though, about how the next generation of entrepreneurs will construct movement and sharing in a world of heightened globalization and connectedness, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Johan Norberg, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Open: The Story of Human Progress. They discuss the many ways in which America is better off because it has been open to the exchange of ideas and skills that created cures, machinery, and technology. However, Norberg cautions that progress is limited as a result of the current obsession with “borders”: sovereign nations, state borders, and rules and regulations that differ even by neighborhood and restrict what we can do. If history is a guide, openness and diversity mean faster progress, innovation, and entrepreneurship. But, he warns, America is already losing ground –  entrepreneurs and inventors are going elsewhere, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Jeff Farrah, General Counsel at the National Venture Capital Association, a D.C.-based group that advocates for public policy supportive of American entrepreneurship. They discuss why we should adopt reforms such as a “start-up visa,” allowing immigrant entrepreneurs to stay here in America so we can benefit from the potential job creation, innovation, and economic dynamism of newcomers who graduated from our universities, worked for American companies, or simply have a viable plan to start a business. Jeff knows that immigration and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand, that immigrants are twice as likely to start a business, and that it’s not just big policy changes that could move the needle, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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Jeff Farrah serves as General Counsel at NVCA, where he advocates before Congress, the White House, and agencies for pro-entrepreneurship policies and leads in-house legal matters for the association, including management of the NVCA Model Legal Documents. He loves working at the intersection of venture, public policy, and the law. Jeff concurrently serves as Treasurer of VenturePAC, the political action committee of NVCA. Prior to joining NVCA, Jeff was Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation where he advised Chairman John Thune (now Senate Majority Whip) and members of the committee on technology, telecommunications, and Internet policy. His committee perch gave him an invaluable perspective on how policymakers think about technology and its impact on American life. Previously, Jeff served as General Counsel to U.S. Senator Scott Brown, serving as Brown’s top legal and policy advisor on a variety of issues. During the 2012 presidential election, Jeff was a member of Governor Romney’s Trade Policy Advisory Committee. Prior to the Senate, Jeff was an attorney at a leading Washington, DC law firm for international trade matters. His trade law experience includes World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement and trade remedies cases before U.S. agencies. A native of southern California, Jeff earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara (Go Gauchos!) and his Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law. Jeff was a Visiting Student at Georgetown University Law Center.

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Carlos Castro, president and CEO of Todos Supermarket in Woodbridge, Virginia, a successful business employing more than 200 people. He describes the perilous conditions in his native El Salvador, why he crossed the border to America, and why immigrant business owners tend to hire people like them, in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Alex Nowrasteh, the Cato Institute’s director of immigration studies and author of “The Most Common Arguments Against Immigration and Why They’re Wrong.” In part one of this conversation, Alex laid out the facts for us on immigration in the U.S., countering many of the false narratives we hear on topics such as public safety and political leanings. This week, Alex hones in on a fact that research has consistently found: that immigrants benefit Americans. And, based on his many years of speaking on this topic to anti-immigrant audiences, he provides insight on where anti-immigrant arguments really come from, as you’ll find out in this week’s JobMakers.

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