When the Czech-born Jitka Borowick arrived on Cape Cod in 2003 to learn English, she had no idea of the impact she would one day make on the region as an entrepreneur, small business owner, and a civic-minded citizen.
Next month, The Immigrant Learning Center of Malden, will honor Borowick for the positive difference she has made to the Cape as a recipient of a Barry M. Portnoy Immigrant Entrepreneur Award for Outstanding Neighborhood Business. She will be celebrated with three other immigrants at The Barry Portnoy Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards Benefit at the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge.
Tickets for the awards can be purchased at www.ilctr.org. Funds raised from the event go to benefit The Immigrant Learning Center which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
“I am so grateful to The Immigrant Learning Center for not only recognizing my efforts to strengthen the Cape, but for highlighting the critical role that immigrants continue to play in our society and in our state,” said Borowick. “While I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done in building two successful businesses, the real reward is the opportunity I’ve been afforded through these businesses to give back to this place I call home. None of this would be possible without the help, support, and acceptance I received when I first came here nearly two decades ago from the Czech Republic.”
Borowick launched her first business, Cleangreen, in 2008, the same year she received her associate’s degree from Cape Cod Community College. An eco-friendly residential, commercial, and construction cleaning company, Cleangreen started as a one-person enterprise; today, it employs nearly 20 staff on a year-round basis. The company, which is based in Barnstable, is one of only eight in the region certified as a Level 2 verified Cape & Islands Green business.
In the spring 2020, Borowick launched her second company, Nové Yoga & Wellness in West Dennis. Nové, which is the Czech word for new, offers a range of in-person and online yoga, strength, mindfulness, and nutrition classes aimed at enhancing the performance, productivity, and recovery of athletes of all backgrounds and abilities.
At both Cleangreen and Nové, Borowick has placed an emphasis on giving back. She is a member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Hyannis, a trustee at Cape Cod Academy, a board member of the Kelley Foundation, and a corporator for Cape Cod 5. She is also co-founder of DEVO Cycling Cape Cod, a nonprofit which provides mentorship, coaching and need-based financial support to young cyclists in the region.
This is just the latest recognition for Borowick and her companies. In 2014, Cleangreen was awarded Business of the Year from the Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce. Two years later, Cape Cod SCORE named Borowick its Small Business Owner of the Year. Three years ago, she was one of 75 recipients across the country of the Enterprising Women of the Year Awards.
The other recipients of this year’s Barry M. Portnoy Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards are Roger Magalhaes, founder of Shades IN Place and Trading Up Consulting of Franklin, for Outstanding Business Growth; Ling Chai Maginn of Boston, founder of the education technology company Jenzabar and the nonprofit All Girls Allowed for Outstanding High-Tech Business; and Avak Kahvejian of Lexington, founder of the cellular therapy company Rubius, for Outstanding Life Science Business.
The award is named after Barry M. Portnoy, the founder of The RMR Group, an alternative asset management company, and a founding board member of The Immigrant Learning Center. Portnoy built businesses in multiple industries, employed thousands, and contributed mightily to local economies. Following Portnoy’s death in 2018, The Immigrant Learning Center renamed its Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards in his honor to recognize his unwavering belief in immigrants and the transformational impact of entrepreneurship.
There are a total of 267 Massachusetts business owners and innovators, representing 68 countries, who have been recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in the eight years of the Barry M. Portnoy Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards.