This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Patrick Anquetil, immigrant from France and co-founder and CEO of Portal Instruments in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a clinical stage, medical device company developing a needle-free drug delivery platform. As Patrick shares, there was no way he could have started a business like this in his home country. The spirit of entrepreneurship that we take as a given here in America does not exist everywhere; in many countries, taking risks to start a business is actually frowned upon. So, Patrick went to MIT, which he says gave him “a sense of great possibilities.” That freedom to innovate has led, in his case, to a transformative patient experience, something we can all appreciate. But it could only have been created in a place that fosters an entrepreneurial spirit in its people, new or old, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers podcast.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Giovanni Ruscitti, son of immigrants from Italy; founding partner at the law firm of Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti in Boulder, Colorado; and author of the just-released Cobblestones, Conversations and Corks: A Son’s Discovery of His Italian Heritage. Giovanni shares his family story, of his grandparents being forced to leave the land they loved, coming to America with virtually nothing but a diligent work ethic, and how they were able to thrive and pave the way for his own success in entrepreneurship and job-making. Crucially, though, Giovanni explains that immigrants from all time periods, including today, bring value, innovation, culture, and strengths, and working alongside them builds up our communities for everyone’s benefit, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Liya Palagashvili, immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and affiliated research fellow at NYU Law. Dr. Palagashvili shares findings from research she co-authored on the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which fills the gap for international students between studying in the U.S. and being employed here through a work visa. The program enables America to retain talented students at just the time in their lives when they’re likely to generate ideas and start businesses, but recent legislation seeks to end the program. Dr. Palagashvili explains why such a move is counterproductive and even a national security threat. Instead, she argues, reforming and making it easier to access OPT would help enhance America’s edge in the global search for talent, and prevent that talent from moving to Canada, the U.K. and other countries – as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Josh Smith, research manager at The Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University, about his work to demonstrate the outsized impact immigrants have on the economy and our culture. Josh describes some of the the negative narratives and the “othering” of immigrants, even though they’re part of our communities. Despite repeated fears that each new migrant group would never assimilate, America remains a “nation of immigrants,” and this is its not-so-secret sauce – as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Khamzat Asabaev, refugee from Chechnya and cofounder of SoftSmile, a software tool that helps dentists provide affordable, quality orthodontic treatment. Khamzat pursued entrepreneurship to make basic services accessible to all, after experiencing a lack of access to basic care as a refugee and a minority. Refugees like Khamzat face terrible circumstances, but through resilience and fortitude, often make significant contributions to their adopted homeland, with higher rates of employment and entrepreneurship. That means they give back far more than we gave them, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with April Ryan, immigrant from Russia, founder and CEO of Red Iguana nail art products, and influencer to hundreds of thousands. April came to the U.S. from a poor town, speaking no English, but through tenacity and inventiveness, she achieved success by creating video tutorials of nail art, and developing a breakthrough product that became a bestseller in 19 countries. April’s story is the immigrant story, about the kind of people who embark on the journey to America, and then put their pluck and ingenuity to use for the benefit of everybody, as you’ll hear in this week’s JobMakers podcast.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Aki Balogh, immigrant from Hungary and cofounder of MarketMuse, which created an artificial intelligence powered content intelligence and strategy platform; and cofounder of dlc.link, which aims to decentralize Bitcoin. Moving to the U.S. after fleeing post-communist Hungary, Aki and his family did whatever they could do to survive, and that included delivering newspapers and phone books, and even starting a computer repair business, as a young teen.  Today, Aki is a pioneer in content intelligence technology and has created more than 90 jobs in the past eight years. But he didn’t come up with groundbreaking software or build a successful business alone. He had help, from a diverse group of collaborators who built something great, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers podcast.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Chet Manikantan, immigrant from India and founder of Aegis Studios, which builds crypto games. Chet was founder of a string of companies and a partner at two venture firms, but he was almost denied the opportunity to innovate and create jobs in the U.S. by our outdated immigration system, if not for a chance encounter that led to a workaround for select foreign-born entrepreneurs. And he’s keenly aware and grateful that this country gave him what he needed to succeed, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers podcast.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Pedro Zamora, executive director of the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation of Greater Kansas City. Pedro and his organization work on initiatives that are crucial to the economic vitality of the area, and they’ve helped more than 4,700 businesses. Immigrants there are having an outsized economic and cultural impact, and so Kansas City is yet another example of how localities can bounce back and benefit from immigrants and refugees, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers podcast.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Mei Xu, immigrant from China and founder of Chesapeake Bay Candle, which was acquired by Yankee Candle parent company Newell Brands for $75 million. Mei describes the journey to entrepreneurship, and how she created opportunities for herself. Today, she seeks to empower women business owners around the world, to show them that they too can expand economies and horizons with a little guidance. As she says in her new book, Burn: How grit, innovation, and a dash of luck ignited a multi-million dollar success story, “I hope to convince you, the American Dream remains vital and accessible to all of us,” as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Cris Ramón, son of immigrants from El Salvador, immigration policy analyst, and coauthor of the new report, Immigrant Entrepreneurship: Economic Potential and Obstacles to Success published by the Bipartisan Policy Center. For the report, he scoured the nation to learn not only what immigrant entrepreneurs need, but what municipalities and the federal government can do, to help build up these businesses. The report shows that immigrants are primed to take risks due to their willingness to move to the United States, but politicians aren’t doing much to facilitate that entrepreneurial spirit. The report offers case studies, recommendations, and stories that demonstrate the value and impact immigrant business owners can bring, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Julie King, immigrant from Mexico and founder of Villa Mexico Café in the financial district of Boston. They discuss the challenges of re-launching a career in a new country. It’s not atypical for an immigrant to start at a lower rung of the economic and social ladder than they previously enjoyed – but it’s a win they persevere despite the pains, and thrive. A powerful lawyer in Mexico City, Julie at first found the American Dream elusive, initially delivering newspapers at 3 am for work. Then, a new opportunity arose, driven by a yearning for real Mexican cuisine. Today, she is full of admiration and respect for the country that allowed her to become a successful business owner, as you’ll hear in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Daniel Perez, immigrant from Colombia and founder, president and CEO of DPV Transportation Worldwide, based in Everett, Massachusetts. Daniel shares what it meant to tap into his entrepreneurial spirit and become a success, pivoting into healthcare and community service when the transportation sector was impacted by the pandemic, and finding a way to use his fleet for good. He discusses his work to help communities like the one where he grew up, East Boston, long a gateway for immigrants. Not only is Daniel’s firm minority-owned, its staff of 200 is 80-percent minority, and he is focused on building opportunities for youth of color, including in entrepreneurship, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Mariam Nusrat, immigrant from Pakistan and founder and CEO of both the venture-backed Gaming Revolution for International Development and the not-for-profit Gaming Revolution for Inspiring Development, both with the acronym GRID. GRID, the for-profit arm, is democratizing the creation of video games with a software-as-a-service platform called Breshna, while the not-for-profit arm creates low-cost social impact games that educate, engage and empower people towards positive behavior change. Nusrat, economist-turned-tech entrepreneur, stands out as a Muslim immigrant woman in tech. She aims to empower the world’s 3.2 billion smartphone users, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers. 

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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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