Roadmap for Growth: Guest Commentary – Steven S. Bradley

What can we work on collaboratively to make Philadelphia the best city in the country in which to do business?

Philadelphia is a city of change with its own identity and distinct personality. No longer the stop between New York and Washington D.C, the city is a world-class destination in and of itself. Last year, Philadelphia was named a World Heritage City, the first U.S. city to claim this honor. An epi-center for international business and home to global, educational and cultural institutions and events, the city’s tremendous growth makes it essential to continually attract and retain new talent and businesses of all sizes, origins and perspectives.

A robust, inclusive and responsible business environment spurs further economic growth and will allow Philadelphia to address the challenges of poverty, quality education, and equal opportunity faced by cities around the world. Despite the challenges, an aggressive and multi-layered approach, that utilizes the business community, non-profits, government, and city residents, will make Philadelphia an optimal place in which to live, invest, work, and play.

A key component to a thriving business environment in Philadelphia is investment in local African American businesses through efforts that enable them to sustain themselves. Such incentives include tax allowances, start-up and expansion funding, development opportunities for entrepreneurs, joint ventures and purchasing goods and services, and aid in promoting an atmosphere where these critical entities start-up, hire, expand, and remain here in the city. African American businesses that thrive benefit the business community and the entire city.

The Mayor, City Council, governmental and quasi-governmental organizations and non-profits must join the business community to develop a cohesive plan to assist, monitor and provide resources to local African American business from the start-up phase (typically five years) until they reach their desired growth. Collective and consistent effort will ensure a higher chance for success. The entire city will benefit in countless ways from such an effort.

Businesses join the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ & DE (AACC) to have an advocate in legislation that impact their business. In addition, their membership helps them connect with, on average, over $150 million in contract opportunities and employment opportunities with the region’s top employers. The AACC has a specific purpose and mission to support African American business development in our region.

A community, which invites and supports entrepreneurs from all sections of Philadelphia, will make the city most attractive to national and international customers and investors and strengthen our growing reputation as a vibrant, flourishing metropolis with its own identity and distinctive personality conducive to creating and sustaining businesses that thrive.