This is the third year that the Des Moines Business Record has devoted an issue to profiling the metro area’s entrepreneurs. This year we’ve focused on immigrant entrepreneurs.

Our four featured entrepreneurs are originally from India, Colombia, Somalia and Kenya. One of them, Tej Dhawan, has been an advocate for loosening immigration laws to allow more skilled workers to either stay here and work, or to come here and fill jobs that are in demand. 

Immigrants are more likely to start and own businesses than people who were born here, according to a study done in 2012 by the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

About 10.5 percent of the immigrant population owns a business, compared with 9.3 percent of native-born Americans, and that gap is widening.  

 A common thread runs through the stories of this year’s immigrant entrepreneurs – a desire to help their communities through their businesses and their personal commitments.


Tej Dhawan
Principal, StartupCity Des Moines










Juan Rodriguez
Owner, Diversity Insurance, Cinco de Mayo,
Cinco de Mayo West, La Reina 1260









Abshir Warsame
Owner, Des Moines Daycare










Abshir Mahamed
General Manager, Des Moines Daycare










Previously profiled entrepreneurs

Joel Bennett
Founder, Veel Hoeden LLC

Brad Dwyer
Founder, Hatchlings Inc.

John Jackovin
Founder, Bawte Inc.

Craig Mouchka
President, Growers Edge

Keith & Tomi Nelson
Owner, Kazzoinks LLC

Christian Renaud
Principal, StartUpCity Des Moines

Paul Rottenberg
President, Orchestrate Management Associates

Matthew Smith
Founder, RealEstateFanPages.com