Malden’s immigrant entrepreneurs tell their stories

“I love being a business owner in Malden. It’s a great community and a great place to do business.”

Shane Smyth, owner of Hugh O’Neill’s Restaurant & Pub


Local immigrant entrepreneur Raghbir Singh Grover in his business, Edson Fashion.
Local immigrant entrepreneur Raghbir Singh Grover in his business, Edson Fashions. Photography credit to Marilyn Humphries.

Sixty attendees from across the commonwealth came to Malden for a walking tour of the city’s thriving immigrant-owned businesses on Thursday, August 27, 2015. Immigrant Entrepreneurs Revitalizing Malden: A Story Tour was organized by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in collaboration with the City of Malden and The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) to highlight the personal stories and economic contributions of the city’s many immigrant entrepreneurs.

Elected officials, municipal employees, bankers, not-for-profit directors and economic development personnel gathered at Malden City Hall where they were welcomed by Mayor Gary Christenson, who said, “The thing that really makes me proud to be the mayor of this great city is the rich diversity that exists in Malden.”

Mayor Christenson was followed by director of The ILC Public Education Institute Denzil Mohammed, who emphasized the entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants whose businesses help to stabilize and grow local economies.

Attendees, including Rep. Paul Brodeur, State Senator Jason Lewis and Rep. Steven Ultrino, then toured the city’s immigrant-owned businesses and heard first-hand immigrant stories of determination, ambition and success.

Participants reunited after the tour at the ILC’s office, where they where welcomed by Founder and CEO Diane Portnoy, who gave an overview of the organization’s history and mission. In small groups, attendees discussed Malden’s economic immigrant integration model and the value of immigrant small businesses as part of local economic development strategies.

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