Immigrants play a key role in Philadelphia’s population growth, neighborhood revitalization, and economic development; highlighting this important role is one of the core goals of the Office of Immigrant Affairs!

We’re excited to announce that, in collaboration with the Department of Commerce and other key partners, the Office of Immigrant Affairs will host Philadelphia’s first ever Immigrant Business Week (IBW) March 27 – April 1!

Last year, while hosting the National Welcoming Economy (WE) convening, Philadelphia emerged as a leader in the Welcoming Economy Network because of the large number of immigrant businesses supporting  our City’s economy. In February 2017, Philadelphia joined the national campaign spearheaded by New American Economy (NAE) to highlight the power of immigrants in communities across the country.

Here in Philadelphia:

  • Immigrants paid $6 billion in total taxes and held $13.5 billion in spending power in 2014.
  • Immigrants are 43.1% more likely to be entrepreneurs than the native population.
  • There are 40,171 immigrant entrepreneurs in Philadelphia.

Immigrant Business Week will celebrate and promote these contributions while also connecting immigrant entrepreneurs to resources for their businesses in Philadelphia — there will even be food trucks!

Do you want to take part? Join us at one of our events below — or celebrate great business and enjoy awesome eats through Food Truck Spotlight!

Business Events

Immigrant Business Week business events include educational workshops and opportunities for networking, resource sharing, and promotion.

Immigrant Business Week Launch Ceremony
Monday: March 27 | 2:30 p.m. — 3:45 p.m.
City Hall, Conversation Hall, Room 202
Mayor Jim Kenney will formally kick off IBW with the Commerce Department, the Office of Immigrant Affairs, and New American Economy (NAE), an organization working to support immigration reforms that will help create jobs. At this launch, NAE will discuss the release of their latest research, “Map the Impact,” an interactive map which includes important data on immigrants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the country. Join us to hear how immigrants are contributing to our local economy and how this data is part of a national campaign for immigration reform and job creation. Please contact Hani White via email or at 215-686-0899 with any questions.

Roadmap for Growth: Supporting Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Philadelphia
Monday: March 27 | 5:00 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.
Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine Street
Join Philadelphia’s civic and business leaders to discuss how the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce can support the needs of Philadelphia’s immigrant businesses, facilitate the ease of doing business, and leverage their success to benefit the overall economy and uplift our neighborhoods. Please contact Bryn Primavera via email or at 215-790-3630 with inquiries.

Global Business hours through the Department of Commerce offers free bilingual business consulting services.

Global Business Hours: Free Bilingual Business Consulting Services
Tuesday: March 28 | 10:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.
Mayfair CDC, 2990 St. Vincent Street
A program of the City’s Commerce Department and provided by SCORE — a nonprofit organizations dedicated to the formation, growth, and development of small businesses — this free volunteer-driven service provides free mentoring and business plan consultations. Contact Justine Bolkus via email or at 215-683-2155 with questions.

Ready, Set, Loan
Tuesday: March 28 | 6:00 p.m — 8:00 p.m.
Women’s Opportunities Resources Center, 2010 Chestnut Street
This event is a loan readiness education workshop lead by WORC, a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote social and economic self-sufficiency. WORC provides entrepreneurship training, individual business assistance, incentive saving programs, and access to business and financial resources. In this introductory session tailored for immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs, participants will learn what lenders are looking for from potential borrowers and how to become “loan-ready.” The workshop will cover the basics of business planning, financial management, credit, and the various types of capital available. Please contact Inja Coates via email or at 215-564-5500 with questions.

Legal Entity Basics Workshop
Thursday: March 30 | 9:00 a.m. — 11:00 a.m.
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, 1617 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Suite #555
Learn how to make the right choices and reduce future risk when starting your business from a business attorney.  The following information will be covered: How to choose the proper corporation structure and why; S corps, LLCs, and why incorporating may not always protect you; why filing paperwork is only the beginning; what is a operating agreement and what it means for your business; co-founder issues; and, other topics relevant to business owners. Contact Natalie Cramer via email or at 215-557-2826 with questions.

Coffee Chat
Thursday: March 30 | 10:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m.
Maria’s Restaurant, 4058 North 5th Street
Learn from the Philadelphia Department of Commerce about how to play, start, and grow your small business. Connect with the Office of Business Services about programs that could help your business, including an initiative that helps small businesses obtain a 0% interest loan of up to $5,000. Power Up Your Business, a business service program at Community College of Philadelphia, will also be a discussion topic. Please contact Samuel Chueh via email or at 215-683-2014 with questions.

Simple Steps for Building a Successful Small Business
Saturday: April 1 | 10:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m.
African Cultural Alliance of North America, 5530 Chester Avenue
Visit the African Cultural Alliance of North America for this discussion with the Women’s Opportunity Resource Center about simple ways you can grow your small business. Contact Inja Coates via email or at 215-564-5500 with questions.

Food Truck Spotlight

Food trucks and food carts have served as a creative pathway for many immigrants to create employment and revenue-generating opportunities.

Through Food Truck Spotlight, Philly food and culture lovers  can conduct a tour of both great cuisines from around the world and the neighborhoods where these five food trucks are located. They will also experience immigrant stories of entrepreneurship up close — and appreciate this hard work using all the senses!

Tuesday, March 28
Chez Yasmine

3740 Spruce Street
This truck located on Penn’s campus offers Mediterranean fare, describing itself as “always, simple, healthy, delicious and elegant.”

Delicias sometimes sets up shop in Eakins Oval. (Photo courtesy of Delicias on Facebook.)

Wednesday, March 29
Foo Truck
35th and Market (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) / 16th and JFK (Tuesday) / 1301 Vine Street
Foo Truck calls its creations “an un-FOO-gettable experience” that takes “traditional Asian cooking techniques and flavors” and tucks them inside a “handier-than-handy toasty tortilla.” Th

Thursday, March 30

Various Locations / 5104 North 5th St
This Latin American food truck from Los Tacos at 5104 North 5th Street is found in various locations across the city and sometimes makes appearances at Eakins Oval.

Friday, March 31
El Sarape 

Various Locations / 1309 South 9th Street 
This Mexican cart is the mobile incarnation of El Sarape, a brick and mortar restaurant at 1309 South 9th Street in South Philly. Visit the website or restaurant for a full food truck location schedule.

Saturday, April 1
Phoebe’s Barbecue

Various Locations / 2214 South Street
Phoebe’s Barbecue’s physical location is at 22nd and South, but it’s truck is found all over Philadelphia depending on the day and occasion.

Food truck and cart owners will get a daily spot on OIA’s social media channels (Facebook/Twitter) and the Commerce Department’s social media channels (Facebook/Twitter), too, including a picture, hours of operation, location, featured food items, menus, and the immigrant owner’s story.

Food Truck Spotlight is made possible thanks to partners including the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, The Food Trust, and Philly Mobile Food Association.

Are you participating in Immigrant Business Week? Let us know and join the conversation using #PHLImmigrantBiz!