fbpx Skip to main content
Program Story

Entrepreneurship Class Graduation


Business Career Pathway Graduates First Entrepreneurship Class Cohort

March 18, 2024 | From a tea company that sources from Nepal, to “Mary’s Deli, a Nigerian food catering company, these were the business plans developed and supported through the International Institute of Minnesota’s new Entrepreneurship Class.  

Last week, the first cohort of students marked the successful completion of our inaugural Entrepreneurship Class, which is part of our new Business Career Pathway.  

Together, we have dared to dream, to innovate, and to challenge ourselves.

Support on the Pathway to Business Ownership

Our celebratory graduation brought together our 13 Entrepreneurship Class students — from seven countries — each with a unique vision and business idea. 

Some students started class with just an idea for their business while others already owned a small business but needed guidance for its growth. Regardless of where they were on their business journey, this training pushed them forward.  

“I’m so happy to get the knowledge that I wanted to get for a long time,” said one student.  

Throughout the training, guest speakers from various Minnesota companies shared their expertise with the class and built connections with the new business owners.  Students learned more about digital marketing, business structures and starts ups, and what it takes to build and manage a team. 

During the training’s last week, each student showcased their business idea by presenting a “Shark Tank” style pitch to a panel of retired business executives.  

Mary, a student with a food catering business idea, even brought fresh Nigerian food for the panel of judges to sample!  

To add to the success of the class, every student successfully passed the U.S. Entrepreneurship Certification Examination, with one student even passing with 100%. With this certification, our students have the foundational entrepreneurship knowledge, skills and mindsets to successfully start their businesses.  

More than Just a Training

To each student, the Entrepreneurship Class was more than just a training. They became friends, sharing a common bond throughout the semester.  

During graduation, the selected class speaker spoke about the class’s shared experience at the Institute. 

“To my fellow classmates, thank you for the collaboration and inspiration shared along this journey. Together, we have dared to dream, to innovate and to challenge ourselves. As we step into the world beyond these walls, let us carry with us the lessons learned and bonds forged,” said Sami Ahmadyan.  

Whether it was working together to build a tower out of marshmallows and spaghetti or leading a blindfolded team in a class activity to learn team building and communication, they supported and championed each other throughout the class. 

Entrepreneurs Who Dream Big

For the students, Entrepreneurship class gave them the opportunity and support to start turning their dreams into a reality. 

“I am grateful to God and the International Institute of Minnesota for accepting me after years of being out of school. Thanks, and appreciation to all of you who helped me. May God bless all of you,” shared one student when asked how the training helped them.  

We are immensely proud of our students and their commitment to learning and innovation. We know they will make a lasting impact on Minnesota’s business landscape. 

I am grateful to God and the International Institute of Minnesota for accepting me, after years of being out of school. Thanks and appreciation to all of you who helped me.

Reported and written by Zinzile Sibanda, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the International Institute of Minnesota. She moved to Minnesota from Zimbabwe in 2014 to pursue an undergraduate degree at Hamline University, where she majored in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Women’s Studies. Her journey from student to immigrant has influenced her passion for working with immigrants and refugees and the importance of community building. 

Make an Impact

Your generous support helps refugees and immigrants find safety and fulfillment in their new lives. Donations in any amount fund our essential programs that allow New Americans to receive expert services, learn English, train for meaningful careers and so much more. Please consider making a gift today.

Two woman in hijabs talking