Inclusion St. Louis Speaker Series

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What impact does inclusion have on the economic development of the Saint-Louis region?

Within the framework of 2021 Festival of Nations of the International Institute, a virtual conference series on inclusion in the St. Louis area began on Monday July 12th. Topics covered on how best to include foreign-born in Saint-Louis, entrepreneurship, mentoring and career counseling.

The panel presented:

Host, Arrey obenson Chairman and CEO of Saint-Louis International Institute

Zellipa Githui, President, Gitzell FairTrade Intl.

Betsy cohen, Executive director, Saint-Louis mosaic project

Aarti Sharma, Vice-President, Service Delivery – Core, Loyalty and Digital, MasterCard

Why is the Saint-Louis mosaic project so important for the economic development of the region?

“The work originally done in 2012 and funded by the William T. Kemper Foundation has shown that our region has the opportunity to grow and that our organization will contribute to economic growth, job growth and cultural growth of the region. Some of the important data speaks of our entrepreneurial community – our foreign-born community typically starts jobs at a rate 50-60% higher than our native-born community. We know that the education and motivation of immigrants is such a powerful source for the region. Research indicates that many Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or by the children of immigrants – these things are so important to the region’s economy. We also know that when people move to our area, they are part of the neighborhood. They help by buying goods in neighborhood markets, they pay taxes, they keep neighborhood schools open and teachers employed. All of these things add to the reason the St. Louis Mosaic Project was created. We have two goals: one is to be the fastest metropolitan area by 2025, the second is to add 25,000 foreign-born people to the region between 2016 and 2025. Right now, we let’s fight because we haven’t had so many refugees and international students – we need them and entrepreneurs and business leaders – we need everyone as a region to grow. – Betsy Cohen, Executive Director of the St. Louis Mosaic Project.

Click here to learn more about this year’s Festival of Nations.


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