Welcoming St. Louis | Julio-Zegarra-Ballon | Suzanne Sierra

Welcoming St. Louis | GigRoots Podcast Welcoming America Series, pt. 1

The St. Louis Mosaic Project Wants to Draw More Immigrants To Help The City Bounce Back.

About the Episode:

St. Louis is fervently seeking in order to draw in new residents. At one time, the city boasted a population of nearly one million people. Today, the population is only around three-hundred thousand. Many blacks have left the city, while ethnic immigration has recently slowed due to current federal policy. The city needs to find ways to support entrepreneurship among the foreign-born while also investing in people of color. Suzanne Sierra from the St. Louis Mosaic Project talks about grassroots efforts to spur business growth. Local entrepreneur and Peruvian immigrant Julio Zegarra-Ballon recalls the past thirty years of ups and downs in American politics and immigrant opportunities.

Key Topics:

  • How do we look at fair trade as promoting equity?
  • What does it take to break into local networks as a foreign newcomer?
  • How have attitudes towards immigrants shifted over the last thirty years?
  • How do you spread welcome to others as a foreigner?
  • What sort of reinvestment does it take to bring people back?

Guests:

Julio Zegarra-Ballon, owner of ZeeBee Market

Suzanne Sierra, Senior Program Manager, The St. Louis Mosaic Project

Helpful links:

https://zeebeemarket.com/

https://www.stlmosaicproject.org/

About the series:

During our third season, we’ve partnered with Welcoming America to help share the stories of foreign-born peoples who have come to call America home. Welcoming America is leading a national movement of cultivating inclusive communities. They work with non-profits and local governments, providing tools and resources to help make cities places where everyone can belong. Through their network, we’ve spoken with local leaders and business owners actively contributing to strengthening their communities.


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Lisa Marsh | Ms P’s Gluten Free | Chicago, IL

Prior to the pandemic, it was already challenging enough to be a smaller, micro-business trying to break into retail, trying to understand the ins and outs and move forward and grow the business. Growing from the initial one store to the three stores to then 15 stores is hugely challenging because each store is different and it’s not a process where somebody is holding your hand and saying, “Okay, let me walk you through this”. So you’re stumbling along the way, figuring it out.

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