Immigrant Business Week is taking a stand in 2020!

In the past years, the City Council and the Mayor have passed several laws that improve the livelihoods of all Philadelphia residents. From eliminating single-use plastic bags, to requiring posting work schedules in advance, the City of Philadelphia believes these initiatives create a more livable and equitable city for all.

Very often, people equate good business practice with “the bottom line.” For example, businesses might choose to use plastic over paper bags even though paper is better for the environment. An owner might prefer plastic because plastic is easier and cheaper to obtain.

Immigrant business owners know this is not true. Take Ange Branca, who runs the South Philadelphia restaurant Sate Kampar. An immigrant from Malaysia, Ange decided to step away from a corporate job to open a small business that allows her to build relationships with employees and the larger community. Recognizing the hardships that many immigrants face, she and her restaurant supports Muhhibah Dinners, a project that raises funds and awareness for the immigrant rights movement. For Ange, “we have created spaces where people can eat together, interact, and drive a common cause at a time when immigrants are victimized and unnecessarily criminalized.”

Making business decisions that are socially responsible is not always easy. “Sometimes decisions do cut into profits,” says Ange. “But I have seen so many corporations run solely on economic value, ignoring the obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Running my small business, however, allows me to make choices, choices that are balanced with enriching the community around us and to put meaning for the existence of the business. Acting with social responsibility in mind has made my day-to-day life and job so much more meaningful and that is priceless for me and the people around me.”

This year, Immigrant Business Week is following Ange’s lead. As the City prepares to launch initiatives that can impact Philadelphians outside the business community, the Office of Immigrant Affairs, Department of Commerce, and Mayor’s Office of Labor are organizing programs that encourage business owners to go that extra mile. The slate includes educational trainings about workplace immigration enforcement and the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census. The schedule also features Venture Cafe, a year-round program for business owners from underrepresented communities.