A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY: Should New York and Other Cities Look to Immigrant Entrepreneurs as a New Engine for Economic Growth?

Please join us for 

A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY: Should New York and Other Cities Look to Immigrant Entrepreneurs as a New Engine for Economic Growth? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 8:30 am to 2:00 pm

 Baruch College Vertical Campus
 55 Lexington Ave. (between 24th and 25th Streets)
 Room 14-220 (14th Floor)
 New York, NY 

Immigrants have a long history of starting businesses in the U.S. But thanks to sharp increases in foreign-born residents in dozens of American cities, immigrant entrepreneurs have gone from a mere footnote in cities' economies to a powerful engine of economic growth. In cities from New York and Los Angeles to Houston and Boston, immigrant entrepreneurs have been starting a significant share of new businesses, creating loads of new jobs and transforming once-depressed neighborhoods into thriving commercial centers. Unfortunately, the contributions that immigrant entrepreneurs are making in American cities has been largely absent from national debates about immigration reform and off the radar of local economic development officials.

Building on the Center for an Urban Future's path-breaking 2007 study about immigrant entrepreneurs, this conference will examine the impact these entrepreneurs are having, the specific obstacles they face in starting and growing businesses and what policies local and national officials ought to undertake to support this under-appreciated part of the economy. It will examine questions such as: Could immigrant entrepreneurs play a key role in helping cities restart their economic engines after the Wall Street meltdown? Will immigrant-run firms fare better or worse than other businesses in the coming economic downturn? What can mayors and local economic development officials do to ensure that more immigrant-run firms grow beyond the mom-and-pop stage? What, if anything, could the new administration in Washington do to support the growth of immigrant enterprises? What are the most significant hurdles unique to immigrant entrepreneurs? 

 Confirmed speakers include (additional panelists and keynote speakers to be announced soon):
–Maria De Lourdes Sobrino, founder of Los Angeles-based Lulu's Desserts and author of Thriving Latina Entrepreneurs in America 
–Joyce Moy, Executive Director, Asian American/Asian Research Institute, City University of New York 
–Fatimah Muhammad, Manager, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians 
–Paul Quintero, Chief Operating Officer, ACCION New York and New Jersey 
–Audrey Singer, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution 
–Steve Strauss, Senior Vice President for Business Development, NYC Economic Development Corporation
–Vivek Wadhwa, Fellow, Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, Executive in Residence/Adjunct Professor, Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University and Columnist, Business Week 
Attendance is free, but space is limited. Reserve a seat by contacting cuf@nycfuture.org or 212-479-3341. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. For more information on the conference, visit www.nycfuture.org
The conference is made possible through generous support from the Garfield Foundation. Additional support provided by Capital One and Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock.

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