New University of Denver Partnership Offers Entrepreneurial Opportunities to Immigrant Students

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A new joint partnership between the University of Denver’s (DU) University College and the World Trade Center (WTC) Denver is helping immigrant students obtain a Business Development Certificate through a four-course program. 

The program was first introduced in fall 2020. It includes classes on business planning fundamentals, financial planning, legal pathways, and brand and marketing strategy. Thus far, 25 entrepreneurs have earned certificates. 

“The classes we took were really on point, like studying how to have a business plan, which we didn’t have at that time,” Teguo Daniel Djoyum, a program graduate, said in a DU press statement. “It guided us on putting those together, writing our financial documents, how to show profit and losses and how to calculate it and how to set up an Excel sheet to actually track our income to see if you are making a profit or not.”

Djoyum is the founder and executive director of the Global Organization of Health Education, a nonprofit organization based out of Ethiopia. Other participants include Ahmad Nazari, the founder of Natural Gems, an American jewelry company that imports exclusively from Afghanistan, and Fatou Doumbia, the founder of AGILE International, a global marketplace dedicated to empowering rural women and providing food security in Mali.

Karen Gerwitz, president and CEO of WTC Denver, says the partnership with DU helps immigrants succeed in entrepreneurship rather than having to work low-income jobs.

“DU wanted to find ways to support immigrants in building wealth and prosperity for their families and gain access to the knowledge to do so, and the WTC Denver program helps to facilitate that,” Gerwitz said in a statement.

“If you are passionate about what you’re doing, [DU’s] program is going to piece it all together,” Djoyum says. “It’s a great start for people who want to start businesses or even those who have a business and want to run it better.”

This article was published in our October 2021 issue.