Welcome Center will integrate immigrants, incubate new businesses

Welcome Center will integrate immigrants, incubate new businesses

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Senator Angus King and Portland City Councilor Pious Ali helped open a new Immigrant Welcome Center in downtown Portland. The Welcome Center provides a co-working space and incubator for immigrant-owned businesses as well as a venue for non-profits to work in support of Maine’s vibrant and growing New Mainer community.

According to Interim Executive Director Alain Nahimana, the Welcome Center will not only provide a state-of-the-art location for new businesses to operate and grow, it will also provide services to help integrate New Mainers into the local community. Nahimana has plans for digital English language classes, training on business skills, and loans to cover the cost of becoming a citizen, which can exceed $1,000.

“We can’t build an inclusive economy without an inclusive democracy,” said Nahimana.

According to a 2016 Kauffman Foundation report, immigrant-owned businesses make up about a quarter of all new businesses in the United States.

“New Mainer entrepreneurs are bringing much-needed vibrancy and diversity to our state’s communities and economy,” said Will Ikard, director of the Maine Small Business Coalition, who attended the ribbon cutting. “With our state and federal government doing so little to assist and encourage immigrant entrepreneurs to come to Maine, we’re lucky that non-profits like the Welcome Center are stepping up to fill in the gaps.”


You might also like

Angus King

PPH poll: Sen. King would destroy Gov. LePage in 2018 match-up

Maine Governor Paul LePage has said several times in recent town halls and during right-wing radio show appearances that he plans to challenge Sen. Angus King for his seat when

small business

Ranked choice referendum has a beer-based strategy to win in November

Craft breweries throughout Maine will be holding “beer elections” during the month of September, hosting tastings and allowing customers to rank their beers as part of a campaign to bring


Here’s where to eat this week to support raising Maine’s minimum wage

From Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery to the Lubec Brewing Company just a few hundred feet from the Canadian border and at dozens of pubs, diners, cafes and eateries in-between,