Jay Jwad talks about immigration and entrepreneurship (includes video story)

This restaurant owner’s remarkable story encapsulates the immigrant experience and the pursuit of the American dream. Meet Jay Jwad, a resilient young immigrant who defied the odds.

Jwad was born in Baghdad, Iraq on June 26, 1987. He began his entrepreneurial journey at just nine years old with his brother, offering sessions to play video games for kids. In 2003, during the crisis of the Iraq War, Jay made an important decision to join the U.S. Forces. In 2010, the U.S. Government granted him a green card.

Jwad decided to move to the United States with only $200 to his name, lacking familial support and fluent English. His first job was as a dishwasher at a rate of $7 per hour in the hospitality industry. As a result of his hard work, he was able to advance to the position of restaurant manager.

In March 2020, his love for hospitality led him to open his first restaurant in Miami called Icon Mediterranean, which is still open. Today, Jwad runs three different businesses to diversify his income, and he calls himself a serial entrepreneur.

Ana Paula Mayorga, born and raised in Venezuela, is a senior majoring in Communications Broadcast Media and minoring in Business Marketing. She currently works as a content creator and spokesperson for brands in the beauty industry. Her goal after graduation is to work as a TV host for live entertainment shows.