Marriott Alumni Magazine

Ballard Center 2015-16 Annual Report

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Every year more than 1.4 million people struggle to complete a US immigration application. Sam Stoddard, a recent BYU MAcc graduate, realized the need for an online immigration service when he helped his wife, who is originally from South Korea, file for a green card. "I'm almost an entrepreneur by accident in the fact that I was going to school and my wife had to go through this process and it was a pain," Stoddard explains. The process of filing for a green card is far from user-friendly. The roughly eighty pages of paperwork were daunting even for someone with a background in tax accounting. The green card application was Stoddard's nights-and-weekends project, and completing the forms took him four months. "And that's with me having a technical [writing] background and English as a first language," Stoddad adds. Stoddard looked for software to simplify the process but didn't find any. "In the end we had to pay a lot of money to an attorney when we really didn't need to," Stoddard said. After experiencing firsthand the need for a do-it- yourself tool for the immigration process, Stoddard set out to create a "TurboTax for citizenship." With the help of co-founders Brady Stoddard and Ayde Soto, Stoddard created SimpleCitizen and achieved Best Venture status through the Ballard Center's Social Venture Academy. "SimpleCitizen is the business I wish I would have started," said Taylor Baker, co-president of Social Venture Academy. "The price and time difference between SimpleCitizen and the alternatives is substantial and makes applying for naturalization much more accessible." Innovation for Immigration Social Venture Academy By Kate Hulme 14

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