Tag: immigrant

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 Gary Christenson, Mayor of Malden, the second most diverse city in Massachusetts, with almost 43 percent of its residents born outside of the United States. It’s also home to The Immigrant Learning Center, the co-producer of this podcast. It’s always been a gateway city for immigrants and refugees: from Jews fleeing for safety after World War II, to Eastern Europeans and Vietnamese seeking democracy and freedom, to immigrants from China, Morocco, Brazil and Haiti seeking the American Dream. For Mayor Christenson, it is this diversity that gives Malden its strength, and assures him of a strong, proud future. He looks to the revitalization of downtown with its disproportionate number of immigrant-owned businesses, and talks with us about managing the relationships between long-time residents and new immigrants, the reaction of the city to hate crimes after the Boston Marathon bombing, how much immigrants have given back to their new home, and his stance on sanctuary cities, in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Jim Stergios, executive director of Pioneer Institute, about why Pioneer collaborated with The Immigrant Learning Center to produce this podcast. They discuss the overrepresentation of immigrants in terms of job creation in America, contrary to the myth that immigrants “take” jobs. For Jim, it is a story that needs to be told because it is at the core of American enterprise, innovation and prosperity; but it is also personal. He describes his own family’s history of starting a business as young immigrants to the U.S. from Greece, and connects it to the common story of America, a nation of immigrant families old and new. And Jim believes the entrepreneurial spirit of yesteryear is the same among today’s immigrants, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Danielle Goldman, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Open Avenues Foundation in Boston, about their work to help high-growth companies and start-ups retain the high-skilled, foreign-born talent they need through cap-exempt H-1B visas. They discuss the example of Eric Yuan from China, who, after getting rejected for a visa eight times, was finally allowed to stay in the U.S. Here, he founded a company that has become indispensable to so many of us, for our kids’ education, our jobs, our healthcare, and staying connected with family members we couldn’t visit during the pandemic: Zoom. Creating innovation when we need it most, Yuan illustrates how the U.S. benefits when we remove immigration barriers in highly competitive industries where talent is scarce.

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This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Sonny Vu, serial entrepreneur and investor, about his work across continents to develop new technologies, processes and products that have, what he calls, “positive, planet-level impact.” This is impact that makes lives and environments safer and better, which Sonny views as the core of his faith. Embracing diversity, change and the unknowns of new knowledge was what Sonny’s parents instilled in him from the beginning. Their journey as refugees to the U.S., leaving under cover of darkness, sailing below deck to a camp in Malaysia, finally to be resettled in Oklahoma City, meant they were survivors, and they embraced the transformational change of life in the U.S., as hard as it was at first. People who have been through unimaginable tragedy and hardship often know how to be creative and inventive to survive, even among totally foreign lands, cultures, and languages. Transformational change is what Sonny is all about today, 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 Jo Napolitano, journalist, former Spencer Fellow at Columbia University, and author of the new book, The School I Deserve: Six Young Refugees and Their Fight for Equality in America, about the enterprising spirit of immigrants and refugees across the nation and at the U.S.-Mexico border. She’s seen children fight to go to good schools so they can fulfil their dreams, learning with donated tablets in tents in Mexico during the pandemic, and she’s seen the outcomes: ambitious young adults who used education and the relative safety of the United States to thrive. They discuss her conviction, drawn from her own immigrant experience and her observations, that educating immigrant children, including those who are undocumented, is not only the moral thing to do but an investment in our collective economic well-being. With better jobs, they can contribute more, and they can improve lives for all Americans.

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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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This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Hilda Torres, an immigrant from Mexico who runs My Little Best Friends Early Learning Center in Malden, Massachusetts. One of the most successful businesses in the city, the center enrolls over 100 students whose parents come from more than 25 different countries. In this episode, Hilda shares how she used the tools of education, and her own grit and determination, to make her mark in the land of opportunity.

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Immigrants have higher rates of entrepreneurship than the U.S.-born at 11.5% compared to 9%But there’s one group with even higher rates of business generation: refugees. Refugees have a 13% rate of entrepreneurship. They are good for our economy, but we also save lives by accepting them. There are at least 79.5 million people worldwide forced to flee their homes. For some perspective, that’s less than 1% of the world’s population, and yet last year the U.S. settled an astonishingly low 11,814 refugees. 

For Hong Tran of Worcester, Massachusetts, his early life in Vietnam and even the journey to seek safety in the U.S. was filled with tragedyHe was orphaned while fleeing and lost his baby sister to pirates in the ocean. Thankfully, the U.S. gave him and his remaining family refuge, and they have given backThey have excelled at entrepreneurship, with his aunt and uncle launching three businesses while he grew up, and today Hong has a diner, a laundromat, a liquor store, a real estate company, and a law firm under his belt, creating more than 50 jobs in the process. Hong knows what it’s like to have nothing. Even with the rise in anti-Asian bigotry, he is determined to use his influence to help other immigrants and refugees get a leg up in their new homeland

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.