New Jersey’s Immigrant Entrepreneurs Contribution Recognized. NJIEA, a broad-based coalition of New Jersey businesses and trade organizations recently celebrated immigrant entrepreneurship with their fourth annual Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards on November 2, 2016.
The Awards program was created to recognize and honor the past and present contributions of immigrant business owners in the State of New Jersey. According to a recent report by the New American Economy, “Immigrants have consistently demonstrated a strong entrepreneurial spirit and propensity to create new businesses.”
The ceremony was hosted by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (SHCCNJ) which since its inception in 1989, has become the voice of the states 70,000 Hispanic owned businesses. Statewide, Hispanics contributed some $10 billion to the economy according to the SHCCNJ.The new executive director of the SHCCNJ, Jazlyn Carvajal says that recognizing outstanding Hispanic community leaders and sharing their narratives is a critical aspect of inspiring the community and helping it grow. “The SHCCNJ is a proponent of “la familia” business model,” says Carvajal, “And we are inspired by each and every awardee’s story.”
Huge Economic Contribution of New Jersey’s Immigrant Entrepreneurs
New Jersey’s immigrant entrepreneurs generated $3.2 billion in business revenue in 2014. Additionally, 35.2 percent of all new businesses in New Jersey from 2007 to 2011 were founded by immigrants. Fittingly, the awards are named for a great New Jersey immigrant entrepreneur, and were chosen from nominees hailing from 12 different countries, including Cuba, Lebanon, Columbia, China, and India.
Immigrants have consistently demonstrated a strong entrepreneurial spirit and propensity to create new businesses
Jose “Pepe Garcia; Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year
The 2016 Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year award was given to Jose “Pepe” Garcia, an Hispanic businessman who owns the Maverick Building Services in Rutherford, New Jersey. Garcia came to the United States in 1968 from Cuba with his mother and two brothers, landing first in Miami before settling in Union City, New Jersey. Garcia’s mother worked three jobs to support her family and times were hard initially, but Pepe worked his way through Seton Hall University, cleaning buildings at night, an experience which made him realize the incredible possibilities in cleaning services. With a $10,000 investment from his mother, Garcia launched Maverick Building Services, which now has more than 200 employees and is one of the most successful building services companies on the East Coast.
Immigrant entrepreneurs’ contribution to the US economy is immense. We employ 1 out of 10 Americans working for private companies and generate $770 Billion in annual revenues” Foulis Peacock, CEO Immigrant Business.
2016 Award Winners
Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year, 2016: Jose “Pepe” Garcia
Country of origin: Cuba.
Company: Maverick Building Services, Rutherford, NJ
David Sarnoff Award forAdvocacy and Community Engagement: Marino Posso
Country of origin: Columbia
Company: Advertise IT, Trenton, NJ
Nicolas Marcalus Award for Sustainability, Dr. Tavit O. Najarian, Sc.D
Country of origin: Lebanon
Company: Najarian Associates, Eatontown, NJ
George Perrott Macculloch Award for Leadership: Meiling Lee Kravarik
Country of origin: China
Company: Nextage M3 Realty, Edison
Albert Einstein Award for Innovation: Dr. V. Balasubramanian, PhD,
Country of origin: India
Company: Cabeus, Inc., Princeton, NJ
Caspar Wistar Award for Growth: Dennis Zhang Country of Origin: China
Company: 24-7 International LLC, Pine Brook, NJ
Rising Star Entrepreneurial Award: Spoothi Kumar
Country of origin: India
Company: Hidden Grounds Coffee Shop, New Brunswick, NJ
Special Award for Immigrant Accomplishmen: Dr. Jianping Wang
Country of origin: China
President, Mercer County Community College, West Windsor, NJ
Judges for 2016
The judges for this year’s Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards were:
Barry Zhang, CEO of Princetel. Winner of the 2015 Nicholas Marcalus Award for Sustainability. Watch Barry on The Green Economy-Interview
Kamran Hashmi, Program Manager at New Jersey Economic Development Authority
Mark Swingle, International Business Consultant
Henry Wojtunik, Investor/Entrepreneur.
The Fourth Annual Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards are sponsored by a broad-based coalition of New Jersey chambers, associations and organizations; including American Immigration Lawyers Association NJ Chapter, AJC New Jersey, Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, Diversity Dynamics, Einstein’s Alley, MIDCED/MidJersey Chamber of Commerce, the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Chinese-American Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Main Street Alliance, the New Jersey Historical Commission, Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, and the Union County Latino-American Chamber of Commerce.