(PRESS RELEASE) NJ Business Immigration Coalition Honors Immigrant Entrepreneurs Making a Difference in New Jersey

Trenton, NJ (Sept. 13, 2022) – The NJ Business Immigration Coalition will honor the winners of the 9thAnnual New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneurs awards at the HOLA Expo and Conference of the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce on September 21 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Maritime Parc in Liberty State Park, Jersey City.

As New Jersey regains its role as a major center of the film and TV industry, partial credit goes to the winner of the Coalition’s 2022 Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year award competition. Born in Bangladesh, Shibber Khan, Principal and Co-Founder of the Criterion Group LLC, purchased an old warehouse in Jersey City in 2019. He and his associates transformed the building into the largest film studio in New Jersey, and also one of the largest in the region. Operated by Cinelease Studies, the facility contains 70,000 sq. ft. of studio and sound stages.

The other distinguished 2022 Immigrant Entrepreneur award winners are:

  • Sheetal Bahirat, Founder & CEO, Hidden Gems Beverage Co., Bridgeton (Ida Rosenthal Young Entrepreneur Award). Country of origin: India.
  • Mayra T. LaMantia, Founder & CEO, Immigration Community Outreach, Newark (Josephine Ho Award for Non-Profit Entrepreneurship). Country of origin: Guatemala.
  • Elisa Neira, Deputy Commissioner, NJ Dept. of Human Services, Trenton (David Sarnoff Award for Advocacy and Community Engagement). Country of origin: Ecuador.
  • Amir Ulislam, President & CEO, Jersey Precast, Hamilton (Caspar Wistar Award for Growth). Country of origin: Pakistan.

The judges for this year’s awards were:

  • Rashaad Bajwa, CEO, Integris, Founder & Principal, BizRatings and President & Founder, ApprenticeIT
  • James Barrood, Founder & CEO, Innovation+, Advisor Tech Council Ventures and Jumpstart NJ Angel Network
  • LinaLlona, President, Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Benedikt von Schroder, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The Princeton Festival

The theme of this year’s Expo will be “Immigrant-Powered Entrepreneurship.” The awards program features keynote speakers James Barrood, former CEO of the NJ Tech Council and author of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Global Insights from 24 Leaders and Lessons from the Great Recession, andLeah Boustan, Professor of Economics and Director of Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University and co-author of Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success .

For more information about the event and to register, click on this link.

About the New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards

The New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards honor immigrant business leaders helping New Jersey communities thrive. The awards were created to highlight the social and economic contributions of New Jersey’s immigrants to communities throughout the state and celebrate the important role of immigrants to today’s economy. The awards are sponsored by the NJ Business Immigration Coalition, a broad-based coalition of New Jersey chambers, associations and organizations, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce, Diversity Dynamics, Einstein’s Alley, Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce, NJBIA, New Jersey Chinese-American Chamber of Commerce, and the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Immigrant Entrepreneur Awardswere named for historic New Jersey immigrant entrepreneurs. The many nominees represent small mom and pop businesses as well as large corporations; ranging from high-tech firms to professional service providers, from manufacturing operations to restaurants and financial institutions. Combined, they employ hundreds of people and do billions in sales.