Aurora, CO

Immigrant teenagers ask council to create business incubator program

David Heitz
An Aurora Central High School student from Burundi, Africa addresses the City Council.Photo byAurora TV

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Several children attending Aurora Central High School asked the City Council Monday to create an incubator program for immigrant businesses.

Aurora is the most diverse city in Colorado with the biggest per capita immigrant population. The children, who City Council member Angela Lawson said are students of social sciences teacher Nicole Rinehart, took turns reading a lobbying speech to the council.

The teens, who speak English as a second language, painstakingly told the council that such an incubator program would increase tax revenues to the city. They said it would create jobs. If successful, the program could be expanded to other cities, they suggested.

They said the immigrants could be offered free storefronts for their businesses and training in running a retail store. Space could be made available for other trades, too, they said.

“Investing in immigrant businesses will help the economy grow,” said a student from Colombia.

Students represent Honduras, Africa, Colombia

A student from Burundi, Africa, clammed up as she addressed the dais. “Hon, are you nervous, do you want help reading that?” council member Danielle Jurinsky asked. Rinehart helped her finish the speech as the chambers gave her a round of applause.

Other students who spoke represented South Sudan, Africa, Honduras, and other countries. They said the city could work with the state on the incubator program and it could be introduced in the form of a bill.

Lawson applauded the high school students for lobbying the council. She said it takes a lot of courage for anyone to address the City Council. The chambers then gave the students a standing ovation.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at community newspapers in Southern California and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am proof that people can rebound from even severe mental illness with proper treatment. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living in the Mile High City. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

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