Sal Nunez, the Dominican owner of the Latin Caribbean restaurant, Buccann, in Oxford Circle. Photo Credit: Taylor Farnsworth/Department of Commerce
Sal Nunez, the Dominican owner of the Latin Caribbean restaurant, Buccann, in Oxford Circle. Photo Credit: Taylor Farnsworth/Department of Commerce

Celebrating Immigrant Business Week in Philadelphia


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Immigrants have always been a vital part of Philadelphia’s functioning as a major U.S. city.

“They influence our cultural institutions, run some of our favorite businesses, and lead local organizations,” Taylor Farnsworth, Marketing & Digital Communications Manager at the Department of Commerce, said in an email.

According to research from New American Economy, there are more than 683,000 immigrant residents in the Philadelphia Metro Area, with more than 47,000 immigrant entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the research showed that immigrants in the Philadelphia Metro Area paid more than $6 billion in taxes and held more than $17.4 billion in spending power in 2016.

“Within the business community – particularly on our neighborhood commercial corridors – immigrant entrepreneurs are driving growth,” said Lauren Cox, Deputy Communications Director at the Office of the Mayor. “We’ve seen areas like North 5th Street in Olney and the Oxford Circle area of the Northeast be rejuvenated by immigrant business owners.”

For the third straight year, the Department of Commerce and the Office of Immigrant Affairs will be collaborating for Immigrant Business Week (March 25 to March 29). The week will begin with a kickoff celebration, where Mayor Jim Kenney will honor three food businesses and a community leader from the Oxford Circle area of the city. The rest of the week will be filled with various events, workshops, and seminars with staff who will be able to speak in multiple languages, such as Spanish, Mandarin, French and Arabic, with the goal of helping provide valuable resources for current and aspiring immigrant business owners and entrepreneurs.

 Mayor Jim Kenney with one of many immigrant business owners from Oxford Circle. Photo Credit: Samantha Madera/City of Philadelphia

Immigrant Business Week has also served as a time to celebrate some of the most prominent immigrant-owned Philadelphia businesses and sharing some of their stories on social media, using #PHLImmigrantBiz.

“The overarching goal of Immigrant Business Week is to celebrate and support Philadelphia’s immigrant entrepreneurs,” Cox said. “[The immigrant] population does so much for our city that deserves to be recognized, but we also understand that many immigrant entrepreneurs face additional barriers that can prevent them from really thriving.”

With each year, the Department of Commerce and Office of Immigrant Affairs work to make sure Immigrant Business Week increases in visibility, becomes more intentional about the diversity of the programming that the week offers, and encourages partners to incorporate multiple languages into the events to make things more accessible and comfortable for potential attendees.

“We’re excited that this year’s programming includes events that touch on topics like access to capital, financial planning, and marketing, as well as some that are just fun celebrations of our city’s immigrant business owners,” added Cox.

For a full list of events celebrating Immigrant Business Week, click here.

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