The 10th Annual New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards took place on June 27, 2023. The Awards were an integral part of the Middlesex County Regional Chamber’s state-wide Multicultural Business Expo held at the Pines Manor in Edison, NJ.

Immigrant Entrepreneur Winners 2023

(From left to right): Alex Martinez, winner of the Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Award; Jaime Lucero, winner of the David Sarnoff Award for Advocacy and Community Engagement; Diana Mejia, winner of the Josephine Ho Award for Non-profit Entrepreneurship; and Alex Wang accepting for Princeton Nu Energy CEO Chao Yan, winner of the Albert Einstein Award for Innovation.

The NJ Business Immigration Coalition honored first-generation business leaders at the 10th Annual New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards on June 27, 2023, for their contributions to business, innovation, nonprofit work, and supporting the state’s economic growth. The Awards were an integral part of the Middlesex County Regional Chamber’s state-wide Multicultural Business Expo held at the Pines Manor in Edison, NJ.
The Award event keynote speaker was Dr. Daniel J. Kim, a professor at the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches MBA and PhD courses on entrepreneurship and innovation. His research examines the role of entrepreneurship in our economy and the drivers of startup performance.  Prof. Kim was named one of the Best 40 Under 40 business school professors by Poets & Quants in 2023.

The winners of the Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Award are Alex Martinez and Paula Guevara, owners of Paradise Flowers Distribution in South River, NJ. Since coming from Columbia in 2005, Paula and her husband Alex Martinez have grown the business to become the number one distributor and importer of hydrangeas. They distribute flowers throughout the tristate to event planners, florist shops, and other wholesalers and import them from Italy, Holland, Africa, Israel, and Thailand growing it into a multimillion dollar business.

The Albert Einstein Award for Innovation winner is Chao Yan, founder and CEO of Princeton NuEnergy, a Bordentown-based innovative clean-tech company spun out from Princeton University in 2019 and focused on the direct recycling of lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles and consumer electronics.

The David Sarnoff Award for Advocacy and Community Engagement was awarded to Jaime Lucero of Harrison, NJ, a native of Mexico, for his role as a “Servant Leader”, addressing the needs of the less fortunate and creatively and purposefully acting to create institutions that help meet those needs through Fuerza Migrante, a binational movement of key migrant organizations from throughout the U.S. that empowers the Mexican community abroad through education.

Columbia native Diana Mejia, founder of the Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center in Madison, NJ, was awarded the Josephine Ho Award for Non-profit Entrepreneurship. Self-funded from her personal retirement account 22 years ago, Wind of the Spirit is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, organizing and mobilizing for just immigration reform.

“We celebrate NJ immigrant entrepreneurs who founded businesses in New Jersey, are creating jobs and are fueling the local economy,” said Katherine Kish, Awards Chair, NJ Business Immigration Coalition. “These first-generation immigrant business leaders have made a positive impact on their communities and we honor their contributions to the state.”

2023-08-16T06:53:08-04:00