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Coalition Launches 2014 NJ Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards

A coalition of business and advocacy groups just announced the 2014 New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneurs Awards.  In response to the question “Why did these New Jersey groups come together to support the New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards?,” reports that “[p]erhaps the answer can found in the comments of Ryan Lilienthal, representing AJC New Jersey, who said that ‘right here in New Jersey is the Statue of Liberty, the gateway to America. The world’s best and brightest look to the beacon of light held aloft by Lady Liberty as hope for the future.'”  For more information, click here to see the article.

Pro-Immigration GOPer Wins Primary

The Wall Street Journal reports that North Carolina Republican Representative Renee Ellmers defeated a primary challenger, who framed his campaign around an anti-immigrant platform.  Representative Ellmers supports comprehensive immigration reform.  This result of this primary election strengthens the hand of GOP officials that hope to advance immigration legislation, and may be glue that binds a pro-immigrant caucus within the Republican party.

Christie, Democrats strike a deal on in-state tuition for undocumented students

Thanks to a deal struck between Governor Chris Christie and NJ Democratic leaders, New Jersey will join the growing number of states providing in-state tuition rates to undocumented young people in New Jersey.  The move comes as Governor Christie eyes the possibility of a presidential run, and immigration reform takes center stage at the nationally.  Christie garnered approximately 51% of the Hispanic vote in this year’s governor’s race – a huge increase from the 2009 vote.  By showing support for undocumented young people at the state level, Governor Christie provides political cover for New Jersey’s Republican congressman to support immigration reform at the national level.

Over the past 10 years, Ryan Stark Lilienthal’s advocacy for in-state tuition has include a host of activities, including testifying before the New Jersey legislature.

For more information about the Christie/Democratic deal, click here to read CNN’s coverage of the story.

MIDJersey Chamber Hosts Immigration Reform Breakfast Forum on December 13th

The MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce is hosting a timely event about immigration reform and how it will benefit your company. Business leaders, government officials, nonprofits and prominent leaders will discuss the effect of current U.S. immigration policy on New Jersey businesses and jobs; the economic impact of immigration reform in the state, and their effort to pass the immigration bill in the House of Representatives.  The program will be moderated by Ryan Stark Lilienthal, Legislative Liaison for the New Jersey Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

From an economic perspective, the case for a comprehensive immigration reform package is clear.  Immigrants are integral to New Jersey’s history and economy. 29 percent of New Jersey’s business owners are immigrants. A study from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers showed that immigrants earn 23 percent of all earnings statewide, and contribute up to $288 billion to the state’s economy annually. Moreover, it will help enhance the labor force for science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) industries.

Immigration reform strengthens workforce development, spur new business creation, and bolster consumer demand. Furthermore, the additional tax revenue and jobs New Jersey stands to gain with immigration reform will be a boon to our local and state economies.

To view further details and register, please click on this link: Immigration Reform Breakfast Forum.

Ryan Lilienthal gives opening remarks at NJ Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards

NJ Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards Honor First Winners at New, Annual Program 

Madison, NJ— On Wednesday, November 20th, twelve business groups, advocacy organizations, associations, local and bi-national chambers of commerce in NJ hosted the 1st Annual NJ Immigrant Entrepreneur Award (NJIEA) Program at the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship, part of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Silberman College of Business.

The awardees received awards named after historical immigrant entrepreneurs in New Jersey such as Nicholas Marcalus, George Merck , Ida Rosenthal.  The winner of the 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Awards was Jay Kulkarni, founder of Theorem.  Kulkarni sent a video message, and his son Brian accepted the award on his behalf. “The paradox of the American dream is that it is highly sought after by non- Americans.” said Kulkarni. “It’s larger than an idea, more lasting than a mere dream; it is an ideal that fervently sought after outside of America.”  “Unlike one who’s born an American, immigrants become an American by choice and that’s a powerful statement,” Kulkarni added.

Jon Lau received the Einstein Award for Innovation.  Lau’s company, Applied Info, designs software technology for the US Army Training and Doctrine Command.  Lau came on a boat to the US as a child; and went on to become an industry leader in multimedia communication and technology innovation.  Lau stated, “This is my payback to the United States, because I truly believe this is the land of opportunity.”

Mordechai Rozanski, President of Rider University and recipient of the Special Award for Immigrant Accomplishment, agreed with that sentiment, “Unlike those who were born here, we came here by choice.  We worked harder, we achieved a little more, not only for our families, but to be worthy of the privileges of being an American – chief among them citizenship.”  According to Nicholas V. Montalto, member of Einstein Alley’s Immigration Task Force and MC at last night’s event, “It is entirely fitting that we should celebrate New Jersey’s preeminent status as a ‘continuing gateway’ for immigrants over the last two centuries.  States and cities that lost their immigrant attractiveness are suffering economically and are trying to lure immigrants back to their communities. We should never take for granted the incredible human resources that we have in New Jersey.”

“These awardees, originally from Liberia, Colombia, Senegal, China, India, Russia and Poland have a lot in common,” said Corinne Horowitz, with NJ Main Street Alliance.  “They have all brought their hard work, creativity, and ingenuity to our state, and created jobs, grown institutions, have made enormous contributions to their communities in other ways as well.”

“In New Jersey, nearly one in three business owners are immigrants” said Amy Hollander, with American Jewish Committee, another sponsor of the program.  “It is amazing what each of our awardees has managed to accomplish in their lifetimes.  Each of them has taken a leap of faith in America and in themselves.  They are role models for us all.”

“The awardees we are honoring epitomize the leadership of Immigrant business owners that New Jersey is built on, and we honor their contributions to the economy and local communities” said Nicol Nicola, of the MID Jersey Chamber.

It was quite an evening, said Paul Boudreau, President of the Morris County Chamber.  “We heard inspiring stories about the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs to our economy and the quality of life in our communities.”

The 2013 Awardees:

2013 NJ Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year; Sponsored by the Rothman Institute for Entrepreneurship FDU:  Jay Kulkarni, India, CEO & Founder of Theorem, Chatham

George Perrott Macculloch Award for Leadership; Sponsored by the Greater Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce: Louis Rodriguez, Colombia, Owner of Independent Power Systems Consulting, Marlboro

Ida Rosenthal Young Entrepreneur Award; Sponsored by the NJ Chinese American Chamber: Adenah Bayoh, Liberia, Owner of Irvington International House of Pancakes

Evelio Cuellar Award for Family Business; Sponsored by the Intersect Fund:

 Geetha Jayaraman, Malaysia, Owner of Grab em Snacks and Spoon & Sprout Café, Ringoes

Albert Einstein Award for Innovation; Sponsored By Einstein’s Alley:

John T Lau, China, President of Appliedinfo Partners, Somerset

Caspar Wistar Award for Growth;  Sponsored by Morris County:

Shau-wai Lam, China, Chairman and CEO of DCH Auto Group, South Amboy, NJ

David Sarnoff Award for Advocacy; Sponsored by NJ Main Street Alliance:

 Samia Bahsoun, Senegal, President and CEO of S2 Associates International, Holmdel

George Merck Award for Community Engagement; Sponsored by the Intersect Fund: Rita Gurevich, Russia, President and Founder of SPHERE Technology Solutions, Hoboken

Nicholas Marcalus Award for Sustainability; Sponsored by American Jewish Committee:  Mitrajit Mukherjee, India, President and Founder of Exelus, Fairfield, NJ

Special Award for Immigrant Accomplishment; Sponsored by MID-Jersey Chamber:  Mordechai Rozanski, Poland, President of Rider University

NJ Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards showcase Immigrant Contributions

A coalition of New Jersey business, religious and advocacy groups announced the winners of the first annual New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards.  The Awards showcase the huge contribution immigrants make to New Jersey’s economy.  Here is a link to an article about the Awards: