Our Best Immigrant Heritage Week Awards Event Yet!

We were extremely pleased to host the attendees and very special guests at our 8th Annual Immigrant Heritage Week Awards. This event, which is held each year in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs’ annual Immigrant Heritage Week, celebrates the entrepreneurial achievements of our clients, who come to New York seeking safety, security, and a better life and in turn contribute to the rich cultural diversity and financial success of our city and our country.

Melissa Jun Rowley

We were delighted to have, as our keynote speaker, Melissa Jun Rowly, an internationally recognized thought leader on the ways that digital technology can assist emerging entrepreneurs in refugee and other minority communities.

As a contributor and expert commentator for BBC News, she provides insight on the business of technology and tech for good. She’s also a former field producer for CNN and Associated Press Television News and a global advisor for 50InTech, an initiative identifying female entrepreneurs, and building an inclusive worldwide network that helps them succeed.

Bitta Mostofi

We were thrilled to have the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), Bitta Mostofi, join us to present the awards. Under her leadership, MOIA has created programs and policies to advance the integration of immigrant New Yorkers in to the city’s civic, economic and cultural life.


BCNA’s Job Creator Award this year goes to Archana Pokhrel, Owner and CEO of Lenox Spa & Nails – a spacious day spa on the Upper East Side that specializes in manicures, pedicures, and facial treatments. The BCNA Innovator Award was presented to Nelson Nigel, Found and CEO of KidMoto Technologies – a mobile app that allows families traveling to and from NYC airports to reserve cars equipped with children’s safety car seats. For the 8th Annual IHWA, BCNA added a new award category, Made In NYC, which was presented to Autumn Adeigbo, Founder, CEO, and Lead Designer of Autumn Adeigbo Designs. Her entire clothing line is manufactured in New York City and her goal is to create a global lifestyle brand founded on ethical fashion, sustainability, and women supporting women. The BCNA New Beginning Awards, recognizing successful graduates of BCNA’s IDA Program, which provide matching grants to refugees saving for further education or to start a small business, went to Reza Khodaverdian (Not pictured), Alassane Thera, and Barsha Basnet.


This year, we had a very vibrant panel discussion on how digital marketing contributed to the success of our clients’ businesses moderated by our former Board Member Deepti Sharma (left), founder and CEO of FoodToEat. Panelists included, Archana Pokhrel, Annabelle Santos, CEO & Founder of Spadet, Autumn Adeigbo, and Nigel Nelson.

Congratulations again to all our awardees and a special thank you to our staff for their unwavering commitment to and support of their clients’ dreams. And on behalf of myself, our Board of Directors, and the BCNA Team, thanks to all our sponsors for their generous support, and to all of you for being here with us today to celebrate the vision, focus, and entrepreneurial spirit of today’s awardees. We thank everyone for your ongoing commitment to helping new Americans thrive and help their communities thrive here in New York.


All photos by Michael Palma Mir