On February 4, Mayor Jim Kenney joined Mt. Airy USA
Executive Director Brad Copeland and others for the official launch of the Philadelphia Immigrant Innovation Hub
at 6700 Germantown Avenue.
In his remarks to the diverse crowd of immigrant entrepreneurs, funders and other supporters, Kenney called the room "a beautiful sight."
"This is what Philadelphia looks like," he said. "And this is what the country should look like."
Copeland added that a support and co-working hub for Philly's immigrant entrepreneurs was "very Mt. Airy" -- the neighborhood is already extremely diverse and civically engaged. He praised Hub members’ commitment, drive, energy, vision and "willingness to take risks."
The Hub was made possible by a 2015 Knight Foundation Cities Challenge
grant. Speakers credited former Mt. Airy USA leader Anuj Gupta for the inspiration to pursue these dollars for the project. Out of 5,000 applications last year, there were 32 winners -- seven of those from Philadelphia, the most winners from any city in the country.
"[Knight] allows organizations like ours to dream crazy dreams and then challenges us to make them a reality," enthused Copeland.
Sarajane Blair and Jamie Shanker of Mt. Airy USA outlined the new space's offerings, which are made possible with additional financial support and guidance from the nonprofit community lender FINANTA
. Services will include "core workshops" (offered through a partnership with the Welcoming Center for New Pennyslvanians
), individual business and financial plan development, credit building tools, and community support and engagement helmed by Mt. Airy USA. Hub members will also have access to a co-working space on Germantown Avenue, five financial lending cycles a year, and dedicated networking programs.
"We will do everything we can to help you succeed," said Blair to program participants.
Those eligible for the program must be immigrants to the U.S. who want to be self-employed and have a business idea or plan, but need assistance in starting or growing their business. Applicants can head to piihub.org
to get started.
Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Sources: Philadelphia Immigrant Innovation Hub launch speakers