Meet our Newest Entrepreneurship Fund Grantees
We are delighted to announce our newest Entrepreneurship Fund Grantees!
After a review of 216 proposals from 247 undocumented young people, living in 29 different states and hailing from 40 countries of origin, we have selected six entrepreneurial projects to support through our Entrepreneurship Fund.
The Entrepreneurship Fund provides financial support for the entrepreneurial projects of undocumented young people working to create positive social change.
These six winning projects were selected based on the importance of the issues they address, the innovation of the strategies they employ, and the positive social impact they will have. The entrepreneurs are working in a variety of industries, including education, film, music, e-commerce, technology, and sustainable farming. Their countries of origin are Togo, Colombia, Mexico, and Kenya.
Winning entrepreneurs will receive individual grants of $20,000-$45,000 and the mentorship and coaching they need for their projects to succeed.
Project Leader: Othniel Tomtania (Togo)
Being undocumented is a gift, depending on how one looks at it. It has forced me to work hard to create opportunities for myself rather than wait for someone else to do what I already have the capacity to accomplish. I believe that there is always a way around every obstacle but it requires time, sacrifice, creativity, persistence, and hard work. With my experience gained over many years, I launched Sead Publishing, a licensing platform that features musical works including those by the talented and vastly underestimated undocumented artist community. Audilus is a media content creation and delivery company working in tandem with Sead Publishing to deliver quality products.
UNDOCUMENTED TALES WEB SERIES
Project Leader: Armando Ibañez (Mexico)
I am a queer undocumented filmmaker and I believe that storytelling can be a powerful tool that can be utilized for social change. I created “Undocumented Tales” because I wanted to bring to screen the stories of my people and community. “Undocumented Tales” is a web series that follows the journey of Fernando Gutierrez, an undocumented queer immigrant from Mexico living in the United States. The series is inspired by the experiences I have lived and witnessed in my community and the stories that oftentimes are not told by the mainstream media.
Project Leader: Asaia Palacios (Mexico)
As an undocumented individual I have faced significant educational barriers to STEM opportunities, but I am changing this story. “S.T.R.E.A.M. This” will tackle the barrier to entry in STEM participation by addressing the experience of underrepresented teenagers of color who disproportionately lack access to extracurricular activities that stimulate their interest and skill development in robotics and engineering. “S.T.R.E.A.M. This” will offer introductory DIY content in artificial intelligence, robotics, and physical computing via a go-to video learning platform (YouTube) for teenagers.
Project Leader: Sam Waithaka (Kenya)
I would like to inspire and motivate other immigrants and let them know that they can still dream despite the hurdles they face. I hope my story of being detained and facing hardships can inspire and motivate other immigrants to keep dreaming and working towards their goals. Supakiosk.com is an e-commerce store geared towards the marketing and selling of products and services primarily used within immigrant communities in the United States. Our site acts as an aggregator for goods and services from various immigrant communities represented in the United States.
Project Leader: David Silva (Colombia)
I want to see more Latinx, women, people of color, immigrants, and, in general, more participation of everyone in the tech industry. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc, are dictating much of our lives, and we need to be part of the conversation as well as the future of the industry. That’s why I decided to start codecorgi.co, I want to help as many people as possible get jobs in the tech industry, advance their careers, and rise to leadership positions where they can steer the direction of these big companies for our benefit.
FARMING FOR STUDENT SUCCESS
Project Leader: Jorge Calva (Mexico)
“Farming for Student Success” is a non-profit venture integrating practical and sustainable farming methods. We are making it possible for people to include healthy foods in their diets as well as providing better tools for farmers to grow sustainably. The idea started in early Fall 2017, as a collaborative effort led by Plant Science Club student members at Fresno State. This opportunity to start a non-profit will test my abilities and teach me the knowledge and skills needed to open and maintain my own farm-to-table restaurant in the future.
Read more about our newest Entrepreneurship Fund Grantees
We are excited to support undocumented young people working to create positive social change because their contributions are essential to the future of our country. “By highlighting these innovative undocumented young people–and supporting the visionary projects they are leading–we show the benefits of welcoming and fully integrating undocumented young people into the fabric of American life,” said Immigrants Rising’s Executive Director Katharine Gin.
“The chosen grantees represent what can be done when imagination is matched with determination,” said Immigrants Rising’s Director of Research and Entrepreneurship Iliana Perez. “We are excited for these grantees to inspire other undocumented young people to launch their own entrepreneurial projects.”
The Entrepreneurship Fund is made possible with generous support from Chavez Family Foundation; The Grove Foundation; James Gutierrez; Elise Haas, Robert and Colleen Haas; Jeff Hawkins; Jorge Ramos; Unbound Philanthropy; and Elisha Wiesel. Read profiles of our Entrepreneurship Fund Supporters.
For more information about the Entrepreneurship Fund, please visit immigrantsrising.org/entrepreneurship-fund