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Philadelphia Diverse Chambers of Commerce are forming a coalition to increase economic growth in the city

A new partnership between the chambers of commerce will focus on facilitating entrepreneurship, advocacy and organizational efficiency. 

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For the first time in Philadelphia, a coalition of local diverse chambers of commerce will create a formal partnership to facilitate the growth of diverse-owned small businesses.

The Diverse Chambers Coalition of Philadelphia (DCCPHL) will focus its efforts on entrepreneurship and growth, collective advocacy on shared economic and social issues, and sharing resources and best practices to help elevate Philadelphia’s economy.

The coalition consists of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Independence Business Alliance.

“We remain autonomous chambers, of course, but a partnership will allow us to do many things together,” said Zachary Wilcha, Executive Director of the Independence Business Alliance.

He added that the coalition will allow leaders of the diverse chambers to speak with a more unified voice on the most pressing issues that play into the economic outlook of the Philadelphia region. 

“This coalition is united behind the common theme: diversity is good for business,” said Wilcha. “And that’s good for Philadelphia.”

The announcement of the new coalition took place during a virtual Zoom call on Oct. 6, during MED Week 2021, designated to highlight minority businesses and provide them with access to resources and connections.

During the call, Jennifer Rodriguez, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, also presented the results of the 2021-22 PHL Budget Cycle Survey.

The survey was issued last year with the intention of collecting ideas about what types of investments these diverse chambers can pursue in order to more accurately advocate for small business owners in the region. 

“We know that City Council and the administration will be entering into a budget season and typically in the fall is when the department starts having conversations about where we are going next year,” said Rodriguez.

“In preparation for that, we thought that we would get the opinion and the temperature on small businesses,” she added.

Some of the highlights of the survey include:

  • 68% of respondents are businesses with five or fewer employees.
  • The most burdensome business tax in Philadelphia is the Business Income & Receipts Tax (BIRT), according to 49% of respondents, while 80% indicated that reducing it would have a positive or highly positive impact on their business.
  • 82% of respondents are businesses with less than $1 million in revenue.
  • Approximately 90% of respondents agree that investments to help small businesses get contracts and obtain grants would have positive impacts on them.

“Meeting and getting to know the sentiments of these micro businesses is very important because these are the businesses that are creating the majority of jobs in our community,” said Rodriguez. 

One of the questions included in the survey was: Considering your experience as an entrepreneur in Philadelphia, how likely would you be to recommend the City as a place to do business to other entrepreneurs?

While many showed an affinity for the city overall, 53% were detractors of the question, 32% were passive and 15% were promoters.

The numbers show there is still a lot of work to be done to make Philly a more attractive city for entrepreneurs to do business. 

“We really want to create an environment in which these businesses feel they have the resources, they have the voice, they have the representation to make the city a place where they can do business and grow their business,” said Rodriguez. 

The results of this survey will guide the newly formed coalition’s mission, goal and approach for helping diverse small business owners in the city grow.

The diverse business communities represented by the alliance of chambers account for an annual estimated contribution of more than $3 trillion to the U.S. economy. 

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