Program Dedicated To Help Immigrants Become Entrepreneurs

May 23, 2018 09:14 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- It’s a process that can seem overwhelming in a setting that could already seem overwhelming, and now there's help.

"This program is simply a wonderful program," Herve Idjidina said.


It's never easy being an entrepreneur. But for some, there are extra bumps along the road of starting and growing a business.

"I have a big dream like I sleep, I wake up, I see myself owning a big business," Ronissia Gondau-Benga said.

The Austin Area Minority Business Project is designed to help make those dreams a reality.

It's a project of the Development Corporation of Austin, in partnership with several other organizations, including the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.

"We help them with business plan development, we help them with loan packages they might take to financial institutions,” Small Business Center consultant Mark Thein said.

“Some of the barriers that people newer to the United States might face is there's a lot of systems and culture kind of behind things, so maybe you have a business idea, but you don't know maybe you have to get five licenses," added Sara Karki at the Immigrant Law Center.

“It tends to be a little bit more difficult for minority business owners coming from another country in regards to maybe language difficulties, understanding the government systems that are in place," Mark Thein told us.

“I'm from Benin West Africa, a French-speaking country and the rules are not the same,” said Herve Idjidina.

"They are really helping me just to be more official in my paperwork," Ronissia Gondau-Bengba said. Her dream is to open a hair salon.

“So I can set up and run efficiently a business in the United States,” said Herve Idjidina, who hopes to open a child care center for the children of second and third shift workers.

“I never knew it could be on this point, but it's just exciting," Ronissia Gondau-Bengba added.

There are currently ten participants in the program. The DCA is looking for more, and anyone interested in mentoring them


Dan Conradt

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