Welcoming Center Visits NDC in Minneapolis
By Herman Nyamunga, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
The Welcoming Economies Global Network (WE Global) provides member organizations opportunities to learn from each other as part of its mission to strengthen the work, maximize the impact, and sustain the efforts of individual local initiatives that welcome, retain, and empower immigrant communities as valued contributors to local economies. During WE Global-funded city-to-city visits, a delegation led by one core member organization visits another core member organization to exchange ideas, learn from each other’s successes, and inspire new approaches and commitment to immigrant-focused economic development. Visits typically include meetings with local stakeholders including government, chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and social service providers.
In its effort to promote neighborhood economic development, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians always strives to find innovative ways to achieve this goal, and that is what took the Small Business Program team to Minneapolis. The Welcoming Economies Global Network (WE Global Network) sponsored a “city-to-city visit” by the Welcoming Center’s Small Business Program to the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) to learn about their nationally renowned entrepreneurial business curriculum. The innovative curriculum is built on the premise that low-income residents of inner cities possess the entrepreneurial talent and energy to revitalize their neighborhoods. What they lack: sound business training!
The Welcoming Center joins six other organizations across the country in the Building From Within Alliance, spearheaded by NDC, that have or are working to implement the NDC model locally. The Welcoming Center will be working in West and Southwest Philadelphia in collaboration with the Philadelphia Commerce Department Office of Neighborhood Economic Development. To ensure that this becomes a shared learning experience, the Aspen Institute has been engaged by NDC to work with the implementing organizations to develop monitoring and evaluation tools for the pilot.
The Welcoming Center has launched an aggressive recruitment campaign in West and Southwest Philadelphia to recruit underground businesses for the twelve week class and is collaborating with the local Community Development Corporations (CDCs) to help identify vacant commercial space in the neighborhoods, as well as micro lenders to provide credit building training and eventually lending to the entrepreneurs.
NDC uses a “Hub and Spoke” system to reach underground entrepreneurs across neighborhoods and cultures. This system requires the implementing organization to utilize talent from within the communities being targeted to offer training in a culturally acceptable way.
About the Welcoming Economies Global Network
The Welcoming Economies Global Network (WE Global) is a project of Welcoming America in partnership with Global Detroit. WE Global is comprised of more than 20 regional economic development initiatives from across the Rust Belt working to tap into the economic development opportunities created by immigrants. WE Global is designed to strengthen the work, maximize the impact, and sustain the efforts of individual local initiatives that welcome, retain, and empower immigrant communities as valued contributors to local economies.