Immigrant Entrepreneur Summit hosts 15th annual event

Over 15 years, more than 1,800 business owners have attended the summit.

Ankeny, Iowa – Whether it’s getting loan approval, finding employees, or dealing with grumpy customers, business ownership keeps people busy.

“Beyond that, as an immigrant, we deal with some assumptions, some biases, and sometimes it’s challenging to thrive,” said Claudia Schabel, owner of Schabel Solutions.

Originally from Brazil, Schabel now calls Iowa home. She runs her own consulting firm and attended the Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit on November 19th with over a hundred business owners.

“It’s been invaluable to be around other business owners, see how they’re doing, be inspired by them, and continue to thrive on our own path,” Schabel said.

Before settling in the United States, participants came from 27 different countries. Attendees are able to attend workshops taught by fellow immigrants on how to navigate challenges they may face, such as language barriers or understanding local laws and regulations.

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Some are even required to practice their business pitches for a panel of experts and receive a $5,000 prize. Organizers say these business owners play an important role in their communities.

“They’re creating jobs. They’re creating revenue-generating opportunities for businesses. Ultimately, the community benefits,” said Catherine Tran, executive director of the Immigrant Entrepreneurship Summit.

While attendees took away more tools to help their businesses grow, there were still a number of ways the Iowa community could help make their journey as painless as possible.

“Understanding, empathy, forgiveness, being proactive and sharing information with us is always very helpful,” Schabel said.

2022 marks the 15th anniversary of the summit. During that time, participants started more than 1,800 businesses across the country.

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