The Nominees Are In for the 1st Annual New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards

On November 20th at 6pm at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham, a broad based coalition of New Jersey business and trade organizations will be hosting the first annual NJ Immigrant Entrepreneur Award Ceremony.  


The Awards program was created to recognize and honor the past and present contributions of immigrant business owners in the State of New Jersey. 


Nominees for the awards hail from 4 continents and 15 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Britain, China, Columbia, Ecuador, France, India, Liberia, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Senegal, South Korea, and Venezuela.  They represent small mom and pop businesses as well as large corporations; ranging from high-tech firms to human service providers, from manufacturing operations to financial institutions. Combined, the nominees employ 9000 people, and gross 2.27 billion in sales.


First generation, Ecuadorian-American, Alexandra Diaz opened her first business, Niña Bonilla Lavanderia in 2009.  “I think positive Latina role models should be highlighted. We are constantly bombarded with negative news about Latinos. I think it's time for a change.” said Diaz, who has been nominated for the Ida Rosenthal Young Entrepreneur Award   “I’ve worked very hard to be in the position I am today. I believe that I was put here to inspire others. The laundromat’s revenue has increased 6% every year since 2009.”


Born in Mumbai, India, CEO Kurus Elavia began working at then Gateway Security as an hourly wage Security Officer in 1988.  He earned $6.50 an hour and was employee number 54.  At that time Gateway was a $7 million company privately owned by the Dell’Ermo family.  From 1988 thru1999 Elavia quickly rose through the ranks into senior management. In 1999 he presented a plan to the Dell’Ermo family proposing to double sales in three years. They agreed, made him COO and he did it in two.  Today he owns a significant stake in Gateway.  Under his leadership, Gateway Group One has grown to $83 million in annual revenue, created two new service divisions and leads a team of 4,200 employees.  Elavia believes that, “N.J. Business leaders must wholeheartedly embrace and leverage the cultural diversity of our state, it has made our own business very strong.”


These two nominees, and a score of other nominees (listed at will take their place in the long line of New Jersey’s historic entrepreneurs who are responsible for such innovations as the first transistor, the brassiere, the submarine, Vitamin C, game theory, the chemical synthesis of penicillin and instant coffee.  Iconic companies like Lipton Tea, Welch’s Grape Juice, Ballantine Beer, and Colgate-Palmolive were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs who chose New Jersey for their homes and places of business. 


The first annual awards are sponsored by a broad-based coalition of New Jersey chambers, associations and organizations; including the Mid Jersey Chamber, the Greater Monmouth County Chamber, The Statewide Hispanic Chamber, The Statewide Asian Indian Chamber, the MID Jersey Chamber, The New Jersey Chinese American Chamber, The Morris County Chamber, The New Jersey Main Street Alliance, The American Jewish Committee, The New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, Einstein's Alley, Morris County Hispanic-American Chamber, Unified Hispanic Chambers of New Jersey, and the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship, part of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Silberman College of Business.


For more information about our Awards go to our web page at



For Immediate Release

FDU Office of Public Relations

   (Metropolitan Campus Office)
Dickinson Hall, Room 3365, H-DH3-13, Teaneck, NJ 07666

Dina Schipper,
Director of Public Relations
Fax: 201-692-7019

Kenna Caprio,
Communications Writer
Fax: 201-692-7019

Helen Grill,
Senior General Clerk
Fax: 201-692-7019

FDU Office of Public Relations

   (College at Florham Office)
Public Relations Building, M-PR1-01, Madison, NJ 08450

Scott Giglio,
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Fax: 973-443-8671

Daniel Landau,
Public Relations Assistant
Fax: 973-443-8671