ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Asylum seekers from New York City began showing up in the Capital Region communities back in May. Some are now eligible to work. NEWS10 met up with one asylum seeker who recently started their very own LLC.
This is no ordinary shopping day for asylum seeker Johnson Coronel. The food he is buying is going toward his American dream. “I’m very happy to be able to do this on my own. To start my own business,” said Coronel.
We first met him in back in June when he was at an event welcoming the new asylees to the Capital Region. The Venezuelan has been in the country for well over 180 days and has been work eligible for some time. But he didn’t want to work for just anyone. He wanted to be his own boss. Johnson exclaimed, “Big Johnson Kitchen is open!”
Big Johnson Kitchen is a catering company that just got its first job. Johnson invited NEWS10 along for his first shopping trip as a valid new business. He chose to shop at a local co-op benefiting the local farming community, as well.
Greg Sheldon, Executive Director at Eden’s Rose Foundation has been working with Asylees from day one. He says the process to get a business licensed and operational was not what he expected. “It was pretty easy. It was harder to get him his driver’s license,” said Sheldon.
The Eden’s Rose Foundation Director explained there was a four-step process that was needed to get the proper licenses that got this business up and cooking.
“We began with assessment, skills development, and getting the things he needed. In his case the things he needed and able to be able to run a business.”
All this shopping and preparation is for his first job. He is the caterer for Capital District Border Watch’s fundraising dinner this Sunday at the First Lutheran Church in Albany.