About IES

Our Mission

The Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit’s mission is to bring businesses of diverse backgrounds together to share, learn, and celebrate the immigrant entrepreneurship experience and contribution to the overall community.

The Summit

The Summit works to exhibit the success stories of immigrant entrepreneurs, create understanding among different ethnic groups, share business growth tips among immigrant business owners, and the keys to success by working with immigrant populations are shared in a creative, competitive, and supportive environment.

The Problem

In 2008, the Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit started as a practical effort to give immigrants in Des Moines, IA the tools they need to succeed in business. Some business leaders were identifying struggles among immigrant-owned businesses. There were difficulties understanding regulations, with devastating impact on their business. 

Our Approach

This group that later became the leadership of IES were themselves immigrant business owners who wanted to ensure that others in their community could succeed, and that entrepreneurship could be a pathway for many to gain greater independence and a better future for themselves and their families. The Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit became an event geared towards business education. 

The Growth

Over the years, the Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit has expanded to other markets. From Des Moines, the Summits have spread over Iowa, into Illinois, and most recently into Minnesota. The National Summits welcomes 800 attendees annually. In the National Summit, roughly 12 states are represented by attendees and formed companies. Additionally, IES has given away $40,000 in awards to support new immigrant businesses.

The Success

The Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit has facilitated the formation of 1,996 new companies since 2008.

The Workshops

Since education is necessary in order to bring down barriers for new entrepreneurs, it is a common feature to all our Summits. Depending on the size of the Summit, there can be multiple tracks of seminars to gain practical knowledge that can be applied to business. 

The Connections

Everyone needs a welcoming, supportive community for success. These greater connections to the larger community gives businesses exposure as well as access to resources. IES is a platform for connections of immigrant-owned businesses to others.

The Awards

There needed to be role models and inspiration for others to follow. The awards were created to show the diversity of success, and to lift the immigrant entrepreneurial spirit.

Our Team

Catherine Tran

Executive Director


Ying Sa

Board Director
Community CPA

Kiyo Matsuyama

Board Director
Iowa Workforce Development

Carlos Rios

Board Director
Immigrant Rights Network of Iowa

Ben Jung

Board Director
Ingersoll Wine & Spirits

Dan Kim

IES Program Manager

Our Footprint

Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Moline, Illinois

Minneapolis, Minnesota