For the first time, we are pleased to recognize EB-5 business plan writers and economists in the EB5Investors.com community for their experience and expertise. Our list includes 10 EB-5 economists and 10 EB-5 business plan writers. We selected these EB-5 professionals based off of their participation in the EB5Investors.com community and their reputation in the field. Next year, we will open up selection to the EB-5 community with a voting process just as we do for the EB-5 attorneys. We look forward to starting an all new special feature highlighting these professionals, who perform such an integral role to the EB-5 industry. For more information or to contact any of these professionals, we invite you to view their listings at www.EB5Investors.com/directories.
Combining her business acumen, legal background and experience, Lauren Cohen founded e-Council Inc. in 2008 with a socially-conscious mission of giving back. Cohen’s desire to improve service provider communication, productivity and work product quality in the immigration industry prompted the company’s creation.
Offering turnkey concierge EB-5 strategies designed to support the growth of U.S. companies while helping immigrants pursuing the American Dream, e-Council boasts a stellar track record and reputation for success. Cohen’s team works tirelessly to ensure that every client is not only satisfied with the work product, but also successful in achieving their goals.
e-Council Inc. serves not only as a strategic EB-5 resource, but also as a stakeholder in the success and outcome of their clients’ projects. The company has worked with clients on numerous EB-5 cases including strategic consulting, setting up Regional Centers, preparing Regional Center projects and developing EB-5 direct investment cases. Well over 100 companies have relied on e-Council Inc. to demystify the complex EB-5 process and prepare their projects for USCIS.
Prior to launching e-Council Inc., Cohen obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Toronto’s Osgoode Hall Law School after graduating cum laude with honors from York University, and is currently an attorney licensed in both Canada and the United States. As an immigrant and now U.S. citizen, Cohen has had direct experience with the visa process.
She is an active member of AILA, Invest in the USA, EB5IC, EB-5 Investors, and others. As a nationally-recognized expert in the field, Ms. Cohen is a frequent local, regional and national speaker, guest lecturer and moderator. Cohen is a board member and contributor to a variety of regional and national charities. She enjoys writing, reading, travelling, working out and swimming, and spending time with family and friends, most particularly her young son and family dog Lila. Cohen also tries to learn new things and to meet new people regularly by attending events, participating in classes and networking functions, and participating in a variety of hands-on learning activities.
Strategic Element Inc.
Phil Cohen is the President of Strategic Element Inc. and has been offering professional services in the EB-5 industry since 2010. His company offers three critical EB-5 services: business plans, economic impact reports and feasibility studies. Cohen is the editor and primary author, alongside several other leading professionals, of The EB-5 Definitive Guide, one of the first comprehensive publications for beginners in the EB-5 industry. He also regularly speaks at industry conferences including: EB-5 Investors conferences, the iGlobal Forum seminar on Raising EB-5 Capital, the Canadian Bar Association and the Pincus Professional Education EB-5 Seminar. Cohen is also a regular contributor of articles to EB-5 Investors magazine.
Since launching his business, which has been a party to projects that have raised (or are raising) more than $3 billion in EB-5 capital, Cohen has seen a world of change in the industry.
“USCIS requirements have become much more exacting and the investors and agents have become far more sophisticated in terms of their analysis and expectations of EB-5 projects. All the while, the marketplace has become significantly more crowded; there were around 100 regional centers in 2010, growing to about 800 today,” said Cohen.
Cohen says that his company has grown in line with the program, ensuring that his company’s products provide the extra layer of sophistication and depth required for today’s projects to be successful. According to Cohen, “when it comes to succeeding in a crowded marketplace, quality counts; the stakes are just too high. Our clients tend to be the ones who recognize the need for quality in order to stand out”.
Strategic Element’s team has grown to include several MBAs and PhD economists and the company has EB-5 experience with a very broad range of EB-5 businesses. Cohen’s prior background includes a degree in Administrative and Commercial Studies from The University of Western Ontario and the development of several businesses and business units for large public companies as well as small start-ups.
Joorney Business Plans
The story behind Joorney Business Plans, founded in 2013 by CEO Benjamin Jarmon, is the same as the one you must be going through right now. Jarmon was working as a business development consultant for a large commodities trading company when he decided to open his own company and use his consulting skills to help entrepreneurs and companies with their start up needs.
In order to do that, Jarmon had to first obtain an E-2 Visa. He went to accountants and lawyers to draft his Business Plan, but none seemed to understand the subtleties of the business model and strategy he was seeking. So instead, Jarmon decided to create his business plan on his own, as he has done dozens of times in the past for clients of his employer. The plan’s creation took much longer than expected, and required more technical knowledge than he could provide on his own. The process led him to create the unique service that Joorney offers for these specific Business Plans needs.
Joorney’s mission is now to provide premier quality Business Plans and market research for investors looking to immigrate to the United States. Members of the firm speak English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Hebrew. They collectively have over 20 years of writing and consulting experience. Joorney has locations in France, New York, Miami and San Francisco.
Jarmon’s firm offers Business Plans for E-1, E-2, L-1, EB-5, H1-B Visa Applications, as well as Market Research and Financial Projections services, all of which are created by skilled professional writers, and reviewed by trained financial and market analysts, certified translators and top notch graphic designers. Writing services include market studies, which consist of an industry analysis, demographics, SWOT analysis, pricing analysis, and state and city market analysis; investor decks, which concisely present via PowerPoint documentation such as products, marketing info, and organizational structure; and re-write services, including industry analysis, market & competition analysis, and financial projections.
Jarmon earned his Master’s Degree in Finance from Universite Paris Dauphine in Paris, France, and his Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis International Business School. Mr. Jarmon is personally fluent in French, English, and Spanish.
Lucid Professional Writing
Suzanne Lazicki is a business writer and EB-5 expert. Since starting Lucid Professional Writing in 2009, Lazicki has written over 200 business plans for regional centers, developers, and entrepreneurs. She holds degrees in English and Business Administration, and worked for real estate, marketing, and investment companies in the United States and China prior to entering the EB-5 field.
Lazicki maintains a popular weblog that provides EB-5 news and information for readers around the world, and serves on the Editorial Committee for the Association to Invest in the USA (IIUSA). Her articles and presentations include the chapter on business plans in Immigration Options for Investors & Entrepreneurs, 3rd Ed. published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Lazicki’s EB-5 practice has developed with the industry.
When she signed her first client, there were 78 regional centers, about 1,000 EB-5 investments in a year, and few EB-5 specialists. In 2016, there are over 800 regional centers and 22,000 pending investor petitions. EB-5 has become a mainstream capital source, a popular path to citizenship, a frequent news topic, a priority for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a major job creator not only in investment projects but also for a constellation of service providers. A fully-fledged EB-5 industry has emerged, driven by growing demand, increased competition, and heightened scrutiny. EB-5 investments are taken seriously as investments, not just as part of an immigration program.
This moves business plans to center stage. A strong business plan can bear scrutiny by the immigration service and by investors, brokers, and security regulators. It presents a clear, attractive, consistent, well-supported, and accurate picture of a proposal, and anticipates questions and concerns. The successful EB-5 plan is the end of a process that begins with understanding how EB-5 immigration and investment work. Lazicki helps clients to keep up with industry developments and the pressure on EB-5 documents from an ever larger, more diverse, and more sophisticated audience.
Elite Visa Plans LLC and RL Business Plans LLC
Rob Lee is the owner of RL Business Plans, LLC, the Founder of Elite Visa Plans, LLC, and the CEO of Elite EB-5 Solutions, LLC, where he currently focuses his efforts. He and his companies have helped hundreds of EB-5 and other clients since May of 2010. In fact, they have been involved with 65 successful Regional Center formations and more than 750 business plans related to EB-5, L-1, E-2, and other immigration programs. Lee has also personally trained many EB-5 professionals who are now a successful part of his team.
Lee began RL Business Plans with a passion for problem solving, customer service and development of the best EB-5 business plan product possible. He focused on integrating 3rd party data and continuously improving the EB-5 business plan structure, content and analyses to meet or exceed USCIS standards. After realizing that EB-5 business plans had matured, Elite Visa Plans was founded in May of 2015 to scale operations and form a company that was solely focused on immigration business plan products and allowed Lee to focus on consulting services through Elite EB-5 Solutions. This company provides process management for new entrants and those regional center owners looking for an experienced partner to focus on execution from end-to-end. RL Business Plans now focuses on other types of feasibility studies, market reports and other business plans.
Prior to EB-5, Lee began his career working for three of the major movie studios as he managed forecasting, reporting and analysis teams responsible for big-box retail accounts in the United States and Canada. He then worked as the Director of Financial Planning and Analysis for a mid-sized jewelry company with 16 locations and backed by private equity. Lee is a graduate of UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and received his MBA and a Certificate of Private Capital Markets from Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business.
Marisa Marconi has been working in the business planning industry since 2007. Her participation in the EB-5 industry began around 2012, when after recognizing an increasing number of clients and attorneys seeking plans for EB-5 projects, she began to focus on developing business plans that were tailored to address the requirements of the program, and to specifically address the requirements outlined in Matter of Ho. Through research, conversations with attorneys and economists in the industry, and participation in continuing education opportunities, Marconi strives to remain abreast of the ever-changing EB-5 environment to ensure the plans she and her team produce are comprehensive and serve the project during both the marketing and filing phases of the EB-5 process.
As the Senior Project Manager at MasterPlans, Marconi and her team have written approximately 250 EB-5 business plans to date, and also specialize in business plans for other immigrant visas (E-2 and L-1). Before working exclusively on EB-5 and immigrant visa business plans, Marconi managed business plan projects for clients from a broad array of industries seeking funding from angel investors, venture capital firms, and banks. The EB-5 program felt like a natural extension of this existing work with more tangible results. Rather than writing a concept plan for the next tech start-up that may never come to pass, she now has the opportunity to work with investors, project developers, and business owners that are utilizing investment for real projects that positively impact local communities and create jobs for American workers. The best part of her job is receiving word from a client or attorney that a project or petition was approved and having the opportunity to see the resulting project take shape.
A native of Las Vegas and alumna of Columbia University in New York, Marconi now resides in Portland, Oregon. When not immersed in business plans, she’s an assistant coach of a local dragonboating team and enjoys biking and hiking the many trails of Oregon with her partner and young son.
Baker Tilly Capital, LLC
Tom Martin currently serves as the vice president Baker Tilly Capital, LLC, the wholly owned FINRA broker-dealer subsidiary of Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP. In his role, he oversees complex projects for clients submitting regional center applications and I-526 petitions.
With deep EB-5 experience, it is Martin’s passion to ensure client satisfaction through informed and guided interactions throughout the entire process of their experience, and he brings a vast amount of experience to each client interaction.
Martin prefers to work closely with his clients, not in a customer or consumer relationship but rather treating them as active participants in the process, to make sure the specific details of their projects are captured, for not only the USCIS adjudicator but in marketing the project to investors as well. Specializing in business plan preparation and economic analysis reports, he oversees a team of writers and analysts and acts as the liaison between clients and the Baker Tilly staff.
Having watched EB-5 grow over the past few years, Martin sees the future of the industry becoming even more complex as the industry navigates new regulatory rules that are sure to come out over the next year.
Prior to his time at Baker Tilly Capital, Martin worked as vice president at Wright Johnson, one of the leading EB-5 consulting firms in the U.S. After receiving his degree in Biology with a Teaching Certificate from Brigham Young University, he taught high school Biology in California before joining a biopharmaceutical company. He has worked in various positions that focused on client engagement and the customer experience, including leading teams of customer service representatives.
Having worked for over 11 years at a Fortune 100 company, Martin trained hundreds of representatives to build solid relationships with stakeholders in order to meet commitments, solve challenges, manage expectations, and expand relationships. He has taught and presented to small and large groups, and his love and passion for teaching find him facilitating and teaching often.
Xecute EB-5 Business Solutions
Bernard Rojano is the Founder, Principal and Lead Consultant at Xecute EB-5 Business Solutions. He has more than 30 years of experience in management, planning, modeling, funding, mergers and acquisitions and business development consulting.
Rojano was primarily assisting clients to navigate through mergers and acquisitions when he worked with his first EB-5 client in 2008. His first project was managing an application for an EB-5 regional center. At that time, there were less than 25 approved regional centers and the I-924 form had not yet been introduced. Following that project, Rojano developed vast expertise and an impeccable reputation in the EB-5 industry that led to many referrals. He has helped to form and develop several regional centers all over the United States. He has always provided consulting for project development and modeled and authored business plans for direct and regional center cases, and non-immigrant visas.
Rojano and his team have provided business consulting to immigrant investors and more than 75 regional centers, deploying over $500 million into projects. He has modeled and written more than 200 EB-5 project and regional center business plans. He travels the world speaking at conferences as an EB5 expert where his goal is to promote the U.S. EB-5 program and to better understand and stay in tune with the immigrant investors and international capital markets in order to better serve his clients by developing projects and writing business plans that are more likely to be successful.
Rojano was born in Acapulco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. His family invested in a business in Houston, Texas under the immigrant investor program, giving them the opportunity to obtain United States residency. He has since become a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Rojano studied civil engineering at the University of Texas in Austin and speaks fluent Spanish. He has served on multiple boards including the City of Seabrook Texas Master Plan Commission as the Chairman, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership and the Texas Boating Trades Association.
EB5 Affiliate Network
Michael Schoenfeld is a Managing Partner at EB5 Affiliate Network (EB5AN), a national leader in EB-5 Consulting, which owns 15 Regional Centers across 21 states. He has been part of the EB-5 community for more than three years, transitioning from private equity in New York City. Schoenfeld, in conjunction with other private sector veterans, founded EB5AN to provide full-service EB-5 solutions and offer professional guidance throughout the EB-5 process. EB5AN partners with sponsors across asset classes to provide creative and insightful EB-5 solutions. Given his expertise, Schoenfeld is frequently asked to speak at industry events including, most recently, the EB-5 Investors Conference in Las Vegas in January 2016 and the NES Conference in Miami in February 2016.
Prior to founding EB5AN, Schoenfeld worked for AEA Investors, a leading middle-market private equity firm which manages $6 billion. Illustrative completed transactions include the $2 billion LBO of 24 Hour Fitness, a leading fitness club operator, and the firm’s investment in Brand Networks. Previously, Schoenfeld also worked for the Boston Consulting Group, among the top management consulting firms in the world. Schoenfeld’s background allows him to bring an institutional focus to EB-5 projects. EB5AN prides itself on delivering best-in-class products by leveraging institutional work ethics and skill-sets groomed by institutional finance, management consulting, and corporate law to provide solutions meeting sponsors’ needs and exceeding expectations.
In addition to business plan development, EB5AN partners with clients to provide project guidance to ensure projects are structured in the most effective way. The team leverages their extensive EB-5 experience, an on-the-ground team in China, and their private sector experience in business strategy, investment evaluation, and securities and immigration law to provide informed, professional advice and guidance.
Schoenfeld enjoys working in the EB-5 space because of the unique combination of investment, immigration, deal structuring, and deal execution. He is a strong supporter of the EB-5 program not only because of the proven economic stimulation for the United States, but because it provides an opportunity to help individuals realize life-changing immigration benefits.
Shepin Finance Inc.
Andrew Shepin, Ph.D. in Economics, is the managing director of Shepin Finance Inc. located in the Greater Chicago, Illinois area. His expertise revolves around business plan writing services for projects and direct EB-5 investments, and providing quality financial advice for immigration investments. He provides complete business plans and has been working in the immigration sector since 2009. Shepin also offers business plan writing services to immigration visa applicants who are seeking L-1A and E-2 visas
Shepin is a naturalized citizen of the United States and is fluent in English and Russian. He founded successful start-ups in Russia, Hungary, Switzerland and in the United States. This extensive entrepreneurial experience allows him to provide his clients with a practical advice while working on business plans or advising visa applicants on immigration investments.
As EB-5 requirements have become more stringent and complex, they are creating new challenges in the industry. Shepin Finance, Inc. prides itself on the preparation of very comprehensive business plans, each typically containing 50-75 pages, that meet and exceed the requirements. He has complete confidence in the quality of his company’s plans, and provides clients with a full money-back guarantee that is very popular with immigration investors.
Not only have requirement for EB-5 plans become stricter, so has the Securities and Exchange Commission’s supervision of those who work in the EB-5 industry. It is now required that anyone providing advice on the selection of an EB-5 investment must be a licensed advisor. In 2015 Shepin successfully met all licensing requirements and received the designation of independent Registered Investment Advisor. This title requires Shepin to provide all clients with investment recommendations that are in the best interests of each client.
As a Registered Investment Advisor, Shepin provides due diligence analysis of various EB-5 investment projects and direct investments. He works in partnership with immigration attorneys to provide investment advice to EB-5 clients, and has extensive experience with direct investment businesses using EB-5 capital. He has worked with clients across the United States, advising them on different projects.