Four local chambers of commerce have formed a new coalition to work together on facilitating growth of Philadelphia’s minority-owned businesses.

The Diverse Chambers Coalition of Philadelphia (DCCPHL) includes the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, and DE, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Independence Business Alliance (Greater Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce).

Zachary Wilcha, executive director of the Independence Business Alliance said the formal partnership allows the organizations to speak with a united voice and advocate for policies that will support the growth of diverse businesses.

“We believe that bringing diverse chambers together through this coalition will enable us to be more effective in advocating for the policies and resources that will help small minority businesses thrive,” he said during a virtual brunch Wednesday.

“This coalition is united behind the common theme — diversity is good for business and that’s good for Philadelphia.”

The coalition will work collectively to meet the unique challenges minority business enterprises face when they engage with the local economy.

“Minority-owned businesses are the pillar of their communities and are the key to the revitalization of neighborhoods across our region,” said Regina A. Hairston, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, and DE.

“This coalition will be crucial in uplifting their efforts and ensuring minority-owned businesses have a stronger voice in the inclusive growth of our city.”

The announcement of the new coalition coincides with Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week 2021, which highlights the city’s minority businesses and the resources that help them grow.

During the event, Jennifer Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce highlighted findings from a new survey of Philadelphia’s diverse business owners.

Respondents were asked about policies, taxes and resources that the city should consider for the 2022-23 budget. The chambers are using the feedback from the survey to help them advocate for local business owners.

Rodriguez noted that 82% of survey respondents were businesses with less than $1 million in revenue and 80% of respondents indicated that reducing the city’s Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) would have a positive impact.

“What we have also learned is that entrepreneurship in the city of Philadelphia is made up of many small businesses that have to reach $1 million in sales so these businesses are impacted pretty heavily by policies that perhaps larger corporations are able to absorb and better manage,” Rodriquez said.

“I think meeting and getting to know the sentiments of these micro businesses are very important because these are the businesses that are creating the majority of jobs in our community.”

When asked about government investment, 90% of the respondents agreed that investments to help businesses get contracts and obtain grants would have a positive impact. Investing in reducing crime also ranked high in the survey.

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