CVIIC Immigrant Entrepreneurs Program Graduation: July 29, 2022
CVIIC Immigrant Entrepreneurs Program Graduation July 29, 2022: The Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC) celebrated the graduation of 53 participants in its Immigrant Entrepreneurs Program. The festive occasion brough together current and past program participants, as well as representatives of key partner agencies. The 53 participants constitute the 4th cohort of an innovative program that was created in the Fall of 2020. Since then, CVIIC’s Immigrant Entrepreneurs Program has provided self-employment and entrepreneurial training opportunities to Latino immigrant families in the Central Valley of California.
CVIIC considers that Latino immigrant entrepreneurs residing in the Central Valley, and other parts of the nation, have an untapped potential to become successful business owners if they are provided with the opportunities to learn how to create a new business or improve the management of an existing one. This potential has been confirmed by the performance of the 4th cohort of the Immigrant Entrepreneurs Program and the progress made thus far by members of the previous 3 cohorts. Moreover, when enrollment in the Program opens twice a year, the slots are quickly filled by eager applicants seeking to take advantage of the trainings offered by CVIIC in conjunction with partner agencies, such as the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and the Valley Small Business Development Center.
The graduation event featured the accomplishments of the individual participants and was enriched by their moving testimonies. The testimonies revealed the capacity of the participants to overcome formidable obstacles and served to reaffirm their personal commitment to their respective business ventures.
Jesus Martinez, Executive Director of CVIIC, reflected on the testimonies of the program participants: “The pandemic impeded holding graduation ceremonies for the previous cohorts. This event has served to demonstrate how powerful it is to bring together a group of dedicated and enthusiastic Latino immigrant entrepreneurs. Their testimonies about the value of the Immigrant Entrepreneurs Program and their remarkable life stories motivate us to work harder and continue to strengthen it for the benefit of past, current, and future participants.”
Clarissa Vivian Petrucci, CVIIC Special Projects Coordinator, stated: “The in-person event showed us that Inmigrantes Emprendedores is transforming lives. Having participants who decided to travel to Fresno from other Central Valley counties to thank the CVIIC staff, partner organizations, and presenters for the information and assistance provided was very satisfying. The testimonies shared by the participants motivate us to continue empowering our community and helping them to achieve their dreams.”
Ana Alfaro, Assistant for Immigrant Entrepreneurship, also expressed gratitude for the testimonies of Program participants: “Listening to the different testimonies of the participants who were graduating from the Immigrant Entrepreneurs Program is gratifying. You notice the positive impact this program has on people who never thought of becoming entrepreneurs in this country and owning a business due to the lack of opportunities or barriers they must overcome. It is really amazing to be part of a program that transforms the lives of your community!”
In addition to issuing graduation certificates, CVIIC awarded 24 mini grants to participants, each in the amount of $1,000.
CVIIC is preparing to launch a third year of the Program in Fall 2022. It will include the recruitment of two additional cohorts of participants. The fifth cohort will take classes in Fall 2022 and Winter 2023, while the sixth cohort will take classes in Spring and Summer 2023.
The Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative is a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency established in Fresno in 2014. It was created to serve immigrant families residing in California’s Central Valley and to contribute to the improvement of regional organizational capacity in immigration-related matters. It has employed a model of regional coordination and collaboration to organize hundreds of free immigration legal services workshops, promote health access, help prepare for participation in the 2020 Census, encourage civic engagement and electoral participation, advocate for immigrant integration policies, and stimulate the development of immigrant entrepreneurship.