Webinar: Investing in Urban Prosperity: Municipal Leadership in Immigrant Integration

September 19, 2012

Learn how innovative local governments in Munich (Germany) and Philadelphia (US) are investing in employment and small business incubation strategies to ensure local immigrant skill, talent and energies can help transform their cities into engines of economic growth and urban prosperity.

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Featured Good Ideas:

  • In the City of Philadelphia, the Department of Commerce is working to bridge the divide between immigrant entrepreneurs and mainstream financial institutions. Using lending circle model familiar to many immigrant communities, the City launched the Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA) help low income business owner achieve entrepreneurial success. Watch the Video Presentation
  • In the City of Munich, the Department of Labour and Economic Development, Local Employment and Qualification Policy has created a project called Migrant Entrepreneurs in Munich (MEM) to provide migrant entrepreneurs with a special business integration tool package which build bridges and partnerships between new businesses and city institutions. Watch the Video Presentation

Tips from the Presenters

Promote the benefits of migrant entrepreneurship and your city as a business hub
Both City Councils in Philadelphia and Munich recognized that immigrants are a benefit, and not a drain to the economic development and health of the city. Philadelphia recognized that immigrants are 30% more likely than native-born Americans to start their own businesses. The City of Munich will be launching a media campaign, “Munich Speaks Many Languages” to promote migrant entrepreneurs and Munich as a business hub.

Customize delivery of services for migrant entrepreneurs who may have different challenges
Recognize that migrant entrepreneurs may have different needs. The challenges small immigrant businesses face may include linguistic, cultural, and systemic barriers, including accessing financial institutions and understanding how governments work. The City of Philadelphia offers complimentary business technical assistance programs customized to address the needs of immigrant entrepreneurs. They offer group saving/lending circle financing model, Rotating Savings Credit Association (ROSCA), along with resources on financial literacy, business compliance, sustainable investing.

Identify key supporters and partners both inside and outside the municipality
Both cities saw the importance of seeking external partnerships; Migrant Entrepreneurs in Munich (MEM) went out to build platforms for dialogue and networks between migrants and mainstream business institutions in the city. MEM reaches out to multiple migrant communities to disseminate information; the more multicultural the target group is, the better it is for networking. The City of Philadelphia relies on cultivated ethnic media contacts to push program out to the public.


Magdalena Ziolek-Skrzypczak, Project Analyst, Department of Labour and Economic Development, Local Employment and Qualification Policy, City of Munich

Magdalena Ziolek-Skrzypczak works in the City of Munich’s Department of Labour and Economic Development, Local Employment and Qualification Policy within the project Competence Development in Migrant Enterprises. The project is part of the Munich Employment and Qualification Program (MBQ), the City of Munich’s primary strategy of labour market policy and seeks to monitor and improve the development of migrant entrepreneurs on Munich’s labor market. Magdalena received a PhD from the America Institute of Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany. She has MAs in Intercultural Communication and European Studies and in English Philology. Since 2010 she has been a member of the Center for Migration Studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, conducting research and international projects on integration of migrants into labor markets.

Shinjoo Cho, Technical Assistance & Outreach Manager, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia

Shinjoo Cho is a Technical Assistance & Outreach Manager for the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce, where she oversees immigrant business support initiatives and development of technical assistance services for business and economic development partners. Prior to joining the City of Philadelphia in 2005, she worked in the field of international trade and small business support. A native of Korea, she studied piano performance and pedagogy at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ.

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