Tag: Entrepreneur

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 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 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 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 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 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 Larry Kim, founder of WordStream in Boston, which was acquired for $150 million, and MobileMonkey, a chatbot marketing platform for marketing and customer support on Facebook Messenger, web chat and SMS. Larry’s parents fled to Canada after the Korean War on a one-way ticket. That in turn gave him the opportunity to purchase his own one-way ticket to the U.S. to fulfill his American dream. Larry is creating hundreds of meaningful jobs for Americans, something he’s not only proud of but feels is at the core of his values, to give back to the country that gave him the opportunity to actualize bold new ideas. Through his technology, he’s helped tens of thousands of companies to grow their businesses, and, with nearly 750,000 followers on Medium.com, he mentors budding entrepreneurs from around the world, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Russian-born entrepreneur Semyon Dukach about the high value of immigrants to the U.S. Dukach started a seed stage fund for immigrant tech founders, One Way Ventures, in response to the early restrictive moves of the Trump administration, particularly the Muslim ban. In his 20 years of angel investing, he noticed a trend: immigrant-led companies repeatedly outperformed the rest of his portfolio. Indeed, immigrants make up less than 14 percent of the U.S. population but launched 24 percent of high-tech startups and founded or co-founded 55 percent of America’s billion-dollar startups. In this episode, Dukach shares his thoughts on how to reform America’s immigration policies.

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This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Mahmud Jafri, who built on a legacy started by his grandfather and began importing hand-knitted rugs from his native Pakistan, creating opportunities especially for women who traditionally couldn’t work outside the home. Today, he has three Dover Rug & Home stores across Massachusetts, including the Back Bay, which have experienced an uptick in sales during the pandemic’s “renovation revolution.” Jafri discusses why he made the journey to the U.S., and challenges he encountered, such as the “concrete ceiling” in the corporate world for foreigners at that time. He also shares thoughts on how to ensure the United States remains a welcoming country, and what can be done to more effectively integrate all immigrants for the benefit of everyone.

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Welcome to JobMakers, a new, weekly podcast, produced by Pioneer Institute and The Immigrant Learning Center. Host Denzil Mohammed explores the world of risk-taking immigrants, who create new products, services and jobs in New England and across the United States.

In the debut episode, Denzil talks with Herby Duverné, CEO at Windwalker Group, an award-winning small business with more than 25 years of experience in physical and cybersecurity solutions that protect and prepare companies through custom learning and training solutions. Herby shares his background as a Haitian immigrant, and some of the challenges of moving to America, working through college to support his family, and embarking on a career path. They discuss what inspired him to start his own business, how he prepared for success, lessons he has learned along the way, and how he gives back.

As Jim says, this week has been a very long year.  But it is Friday, and while so much is closed, the Three Martini Lunch is open!  Join Jim and Greg as they praise the innovation in the private sector (and at universities) to produce new coronavirus tests that are accurate, can be produced in mass quantities, and can deliver results much more quickly.  They also love the entrepreneurial instinct in a British teenager who sold his classmates squirts of hand sanitizer.  They also unload on communist China for brazen lies like the U.S. military launched the coronavirus in China and for threatening to cut off supplies of much needed medications to the U.S. at our time of need.  And they hammer House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for trying to cram a billion dollars for taxpayer-funded abortions into the coronavirus relief legislation.

Carol Roth is a recovering investment banker, entrepreneur and author of The Entrepreneur Equation, the anti-motivational, motivational book about entrepreneurship and a realistic take on starting a small business. She and Bridget discuss the factor that jealousy plays in the tragic loss of the American Dream, being spoiled and ungrateful in a capitalist society, the math and ROI of going to college, and the danger in allowing political correctness to rob us of using laughter as a healing method. Carol talks about how she kept moving forward in the wake of a series of devastating personal losses, her approach to a successful marriage, her horror of emojis, how to combat imposter syndrome and tips on overcoming procrastination. Also, don’t miss Bridget’s unscientific theory that the reason women are more detail oriented than men comes from our hunter gatherer days and her plans for faking her own death. Check out Carol’s podcast, also on Ricochet, here: The Roth Effect with Carol Roth.

Entrepreneurial Zeal

 

Some people are born entrepreneurs like my Father. After selling Group Insurance to various small companies in the Midwest, he branched into Pension and Profit Sharing plans, which were the precursors to modern 401K-type Retirement Plans. Many of his clients were accountants doing the books of restaurants, which were being hit by McDonald’s, Burger King, and other franchises in the 1960s. He talked to Colonel Sanders at Kentucky Fried Chicken and built the first KFC in Battle Creek, MI. He purchased an auto brake shoe remanufacturing plant, where I worked during the summer. Later, he had a small outdoor sign business.

There are many articles on serial entrepreneurs, both positive and negative. After selling their company, many entrepreneurs get bored with “retirement” and look to start another business. Sam Farber (the nephew of Farberware founder Simon Farber) started Copco in 1960 as a producer of enamel-coated cast iron cookware. Retiring in 1982, Sam came up with a toy based around crates with accessories such as wheels, making the crates into cars, bookcases, toy boxes, etc. He patented it and developed prototypes. He then tried to sell it to various retail store chains. The furniture buyers said it wasn’t furniture, it’s a construction toy. The toy buyers said it’s not a toy, its juvenile furniture. So his first business after retirement was stillborn. Later on, he saw a new way to package houseware products, which he knew well. And you probably need his products in your house!