Immigrant owned-businesses help shape local economy, communities in Greater New Haven

A short walk away from the minute space that once housed his first boutique on Whalley Avenue in New Haven, fashion designer Neville Wisdom is weaving his sartorial dream. The business owner has visions as vast as the miles separating him from his hometown of Saint Mary, Jamaica, as the space at 903 Whalley Ave. in Westville functions as a production studio and showroom for his eponymously named clothing line. The line was launched in 2008, almost a decade after he arrived in the United States, and focuses mainly on making women’s clothing, which Wisdom calls “classic” without being “trendy.” Wisdom operates two other shops, including a flagship retail store on Orange Street in New Haven and another retail store on Montowese Street in Branford.

Wisdom is just one of several foreign-born business owners in Greater New Haven who are helping to shape the region’s culture and economy. He’s part of a cohort that will continue to grow, according to a study published this year that suggests immigrants are more likely to open businesses than native-born residents. The 2015 report commissioned from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, a philanthropic organization based in New Haven,titled “Understanding the Impact of Immigration in Greater New Haven”offered a glimpse of how immigrants are affecting the development in the area and the state. “Foreign-born-owned businesses may offer unique products that are otherwise unavailable, and they are paramount in establishing a neighborhood’s reputation for cultural diversity,” the report states. Christina Ciociola, senior vice president for grantmaking and strategy at the Community Foundation, said the report is part of the organization’s efforts to educate the public on immigration integration, a focus the organization plans to continue developing...Click HERE to comment and read full article.

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