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2012 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards Dinner



The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) held its first Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards Dinner on May 9, 2012, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, MA. With Master of Ceremonies Richard A. Davey, Jr., secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and ILC trustee, 150 attendees celebrated the achievements of three award winners:

Larry DossantosLarry Dossantos, Outstanding Neighborhood Business

Larry, from Cape Verde, founded 912 Auto Center in Dorchester, MA, 27 years ago to provide needed automotive services to the community. More recently, he modified his business practices to be more eco-friendly, built community gardens and launched a neighborhood advisory group for minority business owners.


Julia SilverioJulia Silverio, Outstanding Business Growth

Julia, from the Dominican Republic, started a business out of her home in Lawrence, MA, in 1984. She grew Silverio Insurance Agency to $2.5 million in 2011, an impressive 56 percent increase over 2009 revenue.


Amar SawhneyAmar Sawhney, Outstanding Science/Technology Business

Amar, from India, has founded five high-tech businesses in Massachusetts, and his inventions are the subject of more than 100 patents. He is currently the CEO of both Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. in Bedford, MA, and Augmenix, Inc. in Waltham, MA.


Slide Show from Flickr


All of the nominees are shining examples of the critical contributions that immigrant entrepreneurs make in Massachusetts and the United States. Many of them attended the Awards Dinner. Here is a complete list of nominees:

  • 2012 Immigrant Entrepreneur Award NomineesUmesh Bhuju, Zumi’s Espresso and Ice Cream, Ipswich
  • Kris Canekeratne, Virtusa Corporation, Westborough
  • Henry Chung, Pho Saigon, Lee
  • Vincent W. Coljee, Excelimmune, Inc., Woburn
  • Eli Hsu, Tepthida Khmer, Lowell
  • Muhmud Jafri, Dover Rug & Home , Natick
  • Vincent Linder, Claros Diagnostics, Woburn
  • Roger Magalhaes, Shades in Place, Franklin
  • Tarun & Simi Narula, Spice Root Indian Restaurant, Williamstown
  • Gaugarin Oliver, RedEgg Solutions, Waltham
  • Ashish Sangani, Giri Hotels, Quincy
  • Neily Soto, Soto Real Estate Services, Lawrence
  • Abrar Ali Syed, Pine Banks Animal Hospital, Malden
  • Malee Thai, Pailin Market, Lowell
  • Long Tran, Viet Thai Restaurant, Lowell
  • Tran Family, My Xuyen Corporation, Dorchester
  • Sushil Tuli, Leader Bank, N.A., Arlington
  • Yang Zhao, Memsic, Inc., Andover


The ILC is deeply grateful to all its supporters for making this a memorable event.

Event Sponsor: Sullivan & Worcester LLP

Dinner Sponsor: Reit Management & Research LLC

Silver Sponsors: Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Imelda and Pat Donelan, Eastern Bank, and Tom O’Brien


Selection Committees

The selection committees had the difficult task of selecting only one winner in each category. The ILC thanks each of them for all of their hard work.

2012 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards Selection Committee

  • Abi Barrow, Director, Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center
  • Heather P. Boulger, Executive Director, Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Inc.
  • Rodrigo Cerveira, Team Leader, ACCION USA New England
  • George Donnelly, Editor, Boston Business Journal
  • Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO, Mass Technology Leadership Council
  • Frank Hoy, Director, Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Raymond Milano, Branch Manager, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Alison Moronta, Business Development Director, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp.
  • Theresa Park, Director of Economic Development, Lowell Office of Economic Development
  • David Parker, Senior Program Manager, Merrimack Valley Sandbox
  • Andre Porter, Executive Director, Massachusetts Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Janet Strimaitis, Managing Director, Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, Babson College
  • Anna Voronova, Principal, AV Consulting, LLC (Biotech/Pharma Expert Consulting)


The Immigrant Learning Center, 442 Main Street, Malden, Massachusetts, 02148     (781) 322-9777

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