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June 5, 2023

Accelerating Job Growth and Business Formation Among BIPOC Community Should be a Priority for Philadelphia’s Next Mayor

Caitlin O'Brien

Vision Philadelphia releases its latest paper on capital access and economic development in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, PA— What would Philadelphia look like if it had the fastest growth rate of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-owned business formation and job creation? This is the question posed and answered in the latest Vision Philadelphia paper covering economic development opportunities in the city. As the city moves toward the general election, mayoral candidates should consider how to bring together city resources and partners to drive much needed capital to the city’s diverse small business community and set a new trajectory for economic growth and wealth-building. 

Philadelphia currently lags behind the national average when it comes to the growth rate of Black-owned and Latino-owned businesses. Although these communities account for more than half the city’s population, they own less than 10% of local small businesses with employees. Access to affordable, flexible, and timely capital has created significant barriers to asset- and wealth-building for these and other minority communities. The next mayor has a critical role to implement solutions to this challenge. 

“By championing a collective vision around equitable development for Philadelphia, the next mayor can align the stakeholders needed to accelerate economic growth for the city. ” said Kristina Wahl, President of The Barra Foundation. “The next mayor has an important opportunity to prioritize partnership building among investors, small businesses, and business support organizations to make this a reality.” 

Vision Philadelphia’s latest paper, “Access to Capital for Philadelphia’s Diverse Business Owners”, unpacks the various strategies and recommendations to unlock capital for BIPOC businesses. The paper, co-authored by Anne Bovaird Nevins, former President of Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and current Director of Economic Development with Accelerator for America, M. Yasmina McCarty, CEO and President of New Growth Innovation Network, and Kevin S. Dick, President and CEO of Carolina Small Business Development Fund, builds on the 2021 Philadelphia Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Assessment and Strategy developed by Next Street, Urbane Development, Econsult Solutions, Inc., and SourceLink. 

“There are untapped economic assets that already exist in Philadelphia,” said Anne Bovaird Nevins. “Philadelphia has done the research. New city leadership can unlock these assets to enhance the vibrancy and resiliency of the city’s small business community and take action to close the racial wealth gap.”

More papers will be released over the course of the year to spark dialogue among candidates and the broader Philadelphia community. To read the other papers and for ongoing updates, visit: 

About Vision Philadelphia 

Vision Philadelphia is a collaborative of Philadelphia-based philanthropic organizations committed to advancing promising solutions to improve city services and quality of life for all Philadelphians. Vision Philadelphia is supported in part by the Barra Foundation, Neubauer Family Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Philadelphia Foundation, Regional Foundation, Scattergood Foundation, Stoneleigh Foundation, William Penn Foundation, and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the organizations. As nonpartisan organizations, they do not grant permission for reprints, links, citations, or other uses of these papers in any way that suggests that the participating organizations endorse a candidate, party, product, or business.