Philadelphia is the second-largest city on the U.S. East Coast and the 5th most populous. Many immigrants from far and near have called Philadelphia their home and are influential in the growth and development of the city.
The diversified city has also become home for Philadelphia Immigrant Innovation Hub (Philly IHub), a nonprofit organization designed to attract immigrant entrepreneurs to enrich Philadelphia’s economy while boosting their business. Launched on February 4th in the Mt. Airy community, Philly IHub provides immigrant entrepreneurs with affordable workspace, one- on-one coaching for business plans, and resources and workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs ready to move forward with a business plan or idea as well as those with established businesses looking to expand.
Philly IHub has partnered with the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, an immigrant services group, and Finanta, a nonprofit lending corporation based in Philadelphia. This enables the organization to further provide entrepreneurs with tools for credit building and accessing capital, support for community networking events, language assistance, and training and technical assistance.
Eligibility for free services through Philly IHUB requires immigrant status (newcomers or longtime residents) and a legitimate business plan or idea. With expectations that self-employment and independent small businesses drive the economy of Mt. Airy, Philly IHub is funded through the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The Knight Foundation awarded a total of seven innovative groups in Philadelphia. Including FunTimes Magazine. At Philly IHUB’s launch, Mayor Jim Kennedy openly applauded Philly IHub for its civically engaged approach to “nurturing the city’s immigrant community as a means to build Philadelphia economically and creatively”.
Kenney says this one-stop shop, “gives the opportunity to network, trade business cards, get advice on financing, get advice on running a business.” He hopes similar spaces will open in other parts of the city. “We have to grow our population, which is what immigration helps us do, and we have to be as diverse a community as we possibly can,” he said.
Contact info: 215.844.6021, www.piihub.org, 6700 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19119.