Westchester Community College, MasterCard Join To Boost Entreprenuers

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Eridania Camacho, director, Gateway to Entrepreneurship and WCC professor Scorpio Rodgers, (standing), are joined by MasterCard’s Elizabeth Liu, program manager, and Monica Chaves, senior program officer, Global Partnership, left.
Eridania Camacho, director, Gateway to Entrepreneurship and WCC professor Scorpio Rodgers, (standing), are joined by MasterCard’s Elizabeth Liu, program manager, and Monica Chaves, senior program officer, Global Partnership, left. Photo Credit: Westchester Community College

VALHALLA, N.Y. -- Westchester Community College and MasterCard are teaming to help new Americans seeking opportunities in developing businesses.

Responding to the changing demographics and economic opportunities in the Westchester County, WCC has launched a new pilot program to help encourage business development for new Americans, supported by a philanthropic grant from the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, Entrepreneurship for New Americans.

“Westchester Community College has always been about accessibility. We are committed to student success, academic excellence, workforce development, economic development and lifelong learning,” said John F. M. Flynn, the college's interim president. “Partnerships in our community with business leaders, neighborhood non-profits, and other organizations serving our diverse populations, have played a vital role in achieving these goals, and we are proud to have the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth supporting this important initiative."

The new pilot program will offer immigrant entrepreneurs workshops on topics ranging from understanding legal aspects of starting a business, access to credit, English language through the college’s English Language Institute, and more.

“At MasterCard, we are committed to connecting people and communities with opportunity and believe in the power of entrepreneurship as a path to full financial inclusion. We are excited to partner with the college on this pilot program,” said Patricia Devereux, executive director, MasterCard Global Philanthropy.

According to a press release from WCC, immigrants face numerous barriers to starting a business, from access to credit to language and cultural differences. There are limited resources available in Westchester County that meet the needs of immigrant entrepreneurs, and Westchester Community College’s Gateway to Entrepreneurship (G2E) program offers programming to help.

For more information on the college’s G2E program, please visit the college’s website at The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth will support and enable those historically excluded from financial services and serve as a catalyst for change. 

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Congrats to all involved. A new award-winning worldwide book/ebook that helps explain the role, struggles, and contributions of immigrants and minorities is "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” It paints a revealing picture of America for anyone who will benefit from a better understanding. Endorsed by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it also informs those who want to learn more about the last remaining superpower and how we compare to other nations on many issues.
As the book points out, immigrants and minorities are a major force in America. Immigrants and the children they bear account for 60 percent of our nation’s population growth and own 11 percent of US businesses and are 60 percent more likely to start a new business than native-born Americans. They represent 17 percent of all new business owners (in some states more than 30 percent). Foreign-born business owners generate nearly one-quarter of all business income in California and nearly one-fifth in New York, Florida, and New Jersey. In fact, forty percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by an immigrant or a child of an immigrant, creating 10 million jobs and seven out of ten top brands in our country.
More importantly, they come to improve their lives and create a foundation of success for their children to build upon, as did the author’s grandparents when they landed at Ellis Island in 1899 after losing 2 children to disease on a cramped cattle car-like sailing from Europe to the Land of Opportunity. Many bring skills and a willingness to work hard to make their dreams a reality, something our founders did four hundred years ago. In describing America, chapter after chapter chronicles “foreigners” who became successful in the US and contributed to our society. However, most struggle in their efforts and need guidance in Anytown, USA. Perhaps intelligent immigration reform, White House/Congress and business/labor cooperation, concerned citizens and books like this can extend a helping hand, the same unwavering hand, lest we forget, that has been the anchor and lighthouse of American values for four hundred years.
Here’s a closing quote from the book’s Intro: “With all of our cultural differences though, you’ll be surprised to learn how much…we as human beings have in common on this little third rock from the sun. After all, the song played at our Disneyland parks around the world is ‘It’s A Small World After All.’ Peace.”