PHILADELPHIA – Department of Commerce, Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) is advancing capacity-building efforts for businesses with a series of monthly educational workshops. The goal is to share pathways toward generational wealth for minority-, women-, and disabled-owned businesses. That includes by exploring opportunities with City contracts, developing a strategy to pursue business proposals, and learning about available resources. Each year, the City aims to reach at least 35 percent participation from minority-, women-, and disabled-owned enterprises (M/W/DSBEs) on its contracts. The monthly events can help grow awareness of these opportunities. Learn more about all upcoming virtual workshops.“This series is about more than providing minority- and women-owned businesses with tools to succeed,” said Lynn T. Newsome, Deputy Commerce Director, Office of Economic Opportunity. “It is also about providing businesses with knowledge, allowing them to grow and creating a pathway to generational wealth that can be passed down from generation to generation.”

OEO is offering two virtual monthly series:

  1. Doing Business in the City events (third Wednesdays each month, online)

  2. Business Development events (fourth Wednesdays each month, online)

The workshops will be offered from January through June and September through November 2023. This series, in partnership with the Chief Administrative Officer and Procurement Department, can also help advance M/W/DSBE participation through engagement efforts. Each month brings various topics and presenters. The Business Development series is an outgrowth from the Office of Economic Opportunity’s annual Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week). By extending these classes, beyond MED Week, OEO’s intent is to consistently help businesses reach the next level of entrepreneurship.

“Commerce seeks to help all businesses thrive with equitable wealth building opportunities. The Office of Economic Opportunity’s educational series designed to promote growth for diverse businesses is advancing our mission,” said Anne Nadol, Commerce Director. “We are committed to cultivating diversity and inclusion by meeting Minority, Women and Disabled Business Enterprises where they are, based on their needs, to power our economy.”

The first workshop is a revamped “Doing Business in the City” virtual networking event, which is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18, 2023. Presenters from Philadelphia’s Procurement Department provide businesses with instructions on how to respond to RFPs and BIDs. The guest speaker will be Walter “Butch” Bennett, Business Representative AFL-CIO, providing information on working with unions and the importance of union membership.

The monthly workshop series respond to the needs of M/W/DSBEs and can help businesses achieve the next level as prime contractors,” said Procurement Commissioner, Monique Nesmith-Joyner. “This series is especially important now, while the City prepares to increase contracting opportunities as programs and funding are made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)”.

The second workshop is part of the new monthly “Business Development Series”, which is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. This initial session will be focused on the “Psychology of Owning a Business” facilitated by Lynn T. Newsome and Mr. Jigar Mehta, Outsourcing Advisory Consultant. Topics of discussion will include how to learn and grow from failure, resilience, coping mechanisms and more.

The list of all upcoming events will be updated monthly and available online.


The Department of Commerce is the economic catalyst for the City of Philadelphia helping all businesses thrive. Commerce creates equitable wealth-building opportunities to grow quality jobs, build capacity in under-resourced communities, and make it easier to operate a successful business in Philadelphia. Commerce staff provides one-on-one customer service, outreach, and education to business owners. Commerce also partners with community organizations and business associations to reach all entrepreneurs. Visit us at and follow @PHLCommerce on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), operating under the Mayor’s Executive Order 01-21 within the Department of Commerce, is committed to cultivating diversity and inclusion by advancing economic opportunities for Minority, Women and Disabled Business Enterprises (M/W/DSBE). OEO focuses on models that support capacity building efforts such as the Mentor Protégé Program, that will not only enable M/W/ DSBEs to grow and become prime certified contractors, but also be a pathway towards generational wealth.