See the American Dream come to life

“That was the best event The ILC has ever had.” I heard that many times and saw it reflected in the smiling faces of our guests at last year’s Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards. I think this is such an inspiring event because it brings together people from all over the globe to celebrate the achievement of the American Dream.

If you believe that immigrants are assets, if you believe we should be welcoming ambitious newcomers, then I urge you to show your support by participating in The 2017 ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards. You can nominate an entrepreneur, become an event sponsor and attend the Awards Dinner on May 4, 2017, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge.

For inspiration, stories of last year’s winners are included below. You can hear their stories in their own words as part of our Immigrant Entrepreneur Video Interview Series. Complete details are available on The ILC website and our Digital Press Kit offers many easy suggestions for spreading the news via social media or email.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Diane Portnoy







Diane Portnoy
Founder and CEO
The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

Thank You!

Countless supporters help The ILC give immigrants a voice. Here is a heartfelt thank you for a few recent acts of kindness:

Don Toothaker for donating photography services. You make us look good.

Bill McLeod from SCORE 
and Kevin Duffy from the City of Malden for speaking to The ILC Entrepreneurship Class.

Gayle Sommer and Kathleen Weislein from The Career Place 
and Shereen Russell-Ahmed from JVS for helping us present career information sessions for ILC students.

Jill Singer for helping us with the Awards Dinner promotional video.

Herby DuvernéHerby Duverné
2016 Winner, Outstanding Business Growth

Herby Duverné came to the United States from Haiti at the age of 20 without knowing any English. He worked his way through both bachelor’s and master’s degrees and eventually became a successful business owner. He has overseen explosive growth at physical security and emergency management service provider Taino Consulting Group in Boston. Since 2012, he has grown employment from three to 35, and the company increased its workforce seven-fold in 2015 alone.


Hilda Torres and Gerardo Loza
2016 Winner, Outstanding Neighborhood Business

Gerardo LozaHilda TorresHilda Torres was a beautician in Mexico. She switched careers in the U.S. out of the necessity of finding affordable childcare for her own daughter. In 2012, Torres and her cousin Gerardo Loza opened My Little Best Friends Early Learning Center with seven students and three teachers. Today, the daycare employs 28 staff members with 114 enrolled students and many more on the waiting list. The children range from infants to pre-K and are taught sign language, Spanish and Mandarin in addition to their regular curriculum, which reflects the diversity of the children and the community the daycare serves.

The ILC 25 Years logoTwenty-five years, 25 cities

The Immigrant Learning Center is located in Malden but draws students from 88 Greater Boston communities and one in Rhode Island. In fact, since the founding 25 years ago, less than half of the immigrants and refugees who learned English with us have come from Malden. In honor of the 25th anniversary, we have compiled a list of the top 25 cities of residence for ILC students.

1. Malden 6. East Boston
2. Everett 7. Somerville
3. Revere 8. Boston
4. Medford 9. Chelsea
5. Melrose 10. Lynn


See the rest here.

Mihael MikekMihael Mikek
2016 Winner, Outstanding High-Tech Business

Mihael Mikek came to the United States from Slovenia to further his education. While obtaining his MBA from Babson College, he incubated Celtra, Inc. at the school’s business hatchery. Celtra is the first self-service, rich media advertising platform for mobile. The company powers $400 million in media advertising campaigns and counts Fortune 500 companies among its 2,500 brand clients that deliver 50 billion advertisements a year.


Garo H. ArmenGaro H. Armen
2016 Winner, Outstanding Life Science Business

Garo H. Armen is the chairman and chief executive officer of Agenus, Inc., an immuno-oncology company he co-founded in 1994 to develop innovative treatments for cancer and other diseases. He was born in Turkey of Armenian decent. His concern for the Armenian people lead him to found the Children of Armenia Fund, which implements programs to improve the lives of children in rural villages in Armenia. Dr. Armen’s goal is to see cures for cancer through immunology become commonplace within the next five to 10 years.

About Us 

The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) of Malden, MA, is a not-for-profit organization that gives immigrants a voice in three ways. The English Language Program provides free, year-round English classes to immigrant and refugee adults in Greater Boston to help them become successful workers, parents and community members. The Public Education Institute informs Americans about the economic and social contributions of immigrants in our society, and the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture with George Mason University, conducts research on the economic contributions of immigrants. For more information, visit the website at or Facebook page ImmigrantLearningCenter.

Spread the word