Philadelphia Area Alliance of Diverse Chambers of Commerce Announce New Coalition To Work Collectively for Economic Growth

October 6, 2021 | For Immediate Release
Philadelphia, PA — Today, the Diverse Chambers Coalition of Philadelphia, a collective of local diverse chambers of commerce, announced a formal partnership to focus on working collaboratively to facilitate entrepreneurship and growth, to advocate collectively on shared issues, and to increase each member’s organizational efficiency. The Diverse Chambers Coalition of Philadelphia (DCCPHL) includes the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, and DE, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Independence Business Alliance (Greater Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce). This announcement coincides with Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week 2021, which highlights Philadelphia’s minority businesses and the resources that help them grow.

The diverse business communities represented by the alliance of chambers account for an annual estimated contribution of more than $3 trillion to the U.S. economy. The DCCPHL will work collectively, as a community, to meet the unique challenges minority business enterprises face when they engage with our local economy. With the goal of economic uplift for and within the diverse minority business community, this coalition will speak with a united voice on issues where members unanimously align. This collective will aim to identify areas of collaboration among diverse businesses and will advocate for the advancement of policies that support the growth of diverse-owned companies at the tables where decisions are made. This partnership will work together to advocate for, educate, and connect our businesses for the greater good.

“Minority-owned businesses are the pillar of their communities and are the key to the revitalization of neighborhoods across our region. This coalition will be crucial in uplifting their efforts and ensuring minority-owned businesses have a stronger voice in the inclusive growth of our City,” said Regina A. Hairston, CEO & President of the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE.
““For the past year and a half going through the pandemic, one lesson learned is that small and micro diverse business issues were not understood and not well served. There is a strong need to focus on these businesses to help them provide jobs to contribute to the local and regional economy,” said Narasimha Shenoy, President of the Board of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia. “Asian businesses alone account for 10% of businesses in the city, with 9700 hundred of them having more than one employee. Diverse chambers are organized to meet unique needs of its businesses. The Diverse Chambers Coalition will collectively advocate to better serve our diverse small and micro businesses to grow the local and regional economy.”
Jennifer Rodriguez, President & CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce noted, “Diverse small businesses are the backbone of our communities, but they often feel powerless. Bringing the diverse chambers together through this coalition will enable us to be more effective in advocating for the policies and resources that will help small diverse businesses thrive.”
“Diverse Chamber Coalition leaders have realized through our collaborative efforts that we can better advocate for our businesses, especially small ones which comprise the backbone of the city’s economy, when we speak with a unified voice,” said Zachary Wilcha, Executive Director of the Independence BUsiness Alliance. “Demonstrating commitment to diversity is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also the smartest thing to do for businesses large and small. This coalition is unified behind a common theme: Diversity is good for business; and that’s good for Philadelphia.

For additional information, please contact:

Regina A. Hairston, President & CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE

Narasimha Shenoy, Chairman Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia

Jennifer Rodriguez, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce

Zachary Wilcha, Executive Director, Independence Business Alliance

About the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE: The AACC is the leading advocate for minority owned business in the Delaware Valley and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Its purpose is to enhance the growth and effectiveness of African-American owned businesses in the Delaware Valley, and thereby, to improve the economic conditions within the regional African-American community. Its primary goal is to further the interests of businesses by responding to the needs of the business community and serving as an advocate for the purpose of increasing economic opportunities for the African-American community.

About the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia:The AACC promotes and fosters relationships between Asian American and non-Asian communities, providing technical assistance and educational services for the start-up and growth of Asian American businesses, and bringing together Asian American business owners and professions, serving as a liaison between the federal, state and local governments and other chambers of commerce organizations, and promoting education programs to increase awareness of Asian American businesses. We are dedicated to promoting regional economic growth between Asian & non-Asian businesses while advancing business-friendly public policies, servicing our members through outstanding programs, benefits, and services.

About the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce: Established in 1990, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GPHCC) is a not-for-profit organization devoted to promoting the advancement and economic growth of Hispanic businesses and professionals in the greater Philadelphia region. We accomplish this through educational programs, and a broad range of services and special events. The GPHCC proactively serves a diverse membership—consisting of entrepreneurs, Latino businesses, Latino professionals, corporations and government—with the overriding goal of helping these critical constituencies capitalize on the many opportunities their diversity, enhanced by our Latino multicultural mix, offers. Our Mission is to develop, promote and advocate for Hispanic business in the Greater Philadelphia region while encouraging the advancement and economic growth of the Hispanic community.

About the Independence Business Alliance: The Independence Business Alliance (IBA) is Greater Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce. The IBA provides opportunities, access and resources to LGBTQ+ businesses, LGBTQ+ professionals, and our visible allies in the Greater Philadelphia area. The mission of the Independence Business Alliance is to promote Greater Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ business and leadership communities to enhance financial opportunities, foster diversity, develop leadership and collaboration, and advocate for positive change. www,

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IBA Holiday Party 2021

IBA Holiday Party 2021 December 14th, 6pm – 9pm Morris House Hotel, Philadelphia

It’s been too long. We can’t wait to see you and celebrate in person! This year’s Holiday Party will:

· Take place under a large, open, heated tent in a courtyard
· Have indoor and outdoor areas to match everyone’s comfort level
· Require folks to wear masks when indoors and not eating or drinking
· Be full of lite fare options and have an open select bar
· Require a proof of vaccination
· Be capped at a number which falls safely within regulations of the venue and City

The Independence Business Alliance (IBA) is a membership-based business organization dedicated to making the Philadelphia region an influential and diverse LGBTQ+ business community with an impact on economic development, business equality, and policy issues. The IBA is a proud official affiliate of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). IBA serves more than 750 professionals across over 300 member businesses in Greater Philadelphia. There are more than 70 Certified LGBT Business Enterprises in IBA’s footprint, which collectively generate nearly half a billion dollars of revenue each year.

The annual IBA Holiday Party has become the largest LGBTQ+ holiday gathering of its kind in the Greater Philadelphia region, where members and non-members alike join together to celebrate the holiday spirit and network one last time before the new year. Our last Holiday Party in 2019 was our largest ever, and brought more than 300 together for holiday cheer and business success! The event has become an exciting way to engage business sponsors who would like exposure to our members and their companies.

-Tickets are selling fast and we WILL sell out!
-Early Bird prices have ended. After November 25th, ticket prices are $100 for IBA Members, and $120 for Non-Members.
-Not a member but know you want to come to the event? Become a member NOW so that you can receive the Member-discount ticket price!
-Can’t make the event in-person and want to support the IBA? Purchase a $90 “Support from Home (not attending)” ticket at any time to show your support!

Purchase your tickets here!

Email Operations Coordinator with any questions.

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IBA Celebrates the LGBT Business Community at Sold Out Event!

On May 11th the IBA hosted the 2015 Business Leaders Luncheon at the Hotel Sofitel Philadelphia. The sold out event, presented by West Laurel Hill, was attended by over 225 members, guests and community leaders, including Nellie Fitzpatrick, Director of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia, Councilman Mark Squilla, and Tiffany Newmuis, Director of Diversity & Community Engagement for the DNC Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee.

PNC Bank President, Paula Fryland long-time Corporate Partner and loyal friend to the IBA, presented the 2015 PNC Bank LGBT Business Award to IBA Members, Holly Johnson & Stacey Vey of Stir Lounge.

One of the many highlights of this year’s luncheon was the keynote address given by Justin Nelson, Co-Founder & President of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). Nelson has used his background in small business and issue advocacy to help build a national organization that has given a much-needed commercial identity to the LGBT community. The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the only national not-for-profit advocacy organization dedicated to expanding the economic opportunities and advancements of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender-owned businesses.

This was the 5th year for the Business Leaders Luncheon and by far the most well attended and biggest success yet. The theme for this year’s luncheon—“Business. First.”—was carried throughout the event by all who addressed IBA Members and guests.

A huge thanks goes out to all who made this event possible, in particularly our Luncheon Sponsors, Corporate Partners, the staff of the Hotel Sofitel, Mark Beyerle & his amazing team from Specialty Productions, JPG Photography and all those who helped make the day a true celebration of the achievements of the LGBT Business Community in the Greater Philadelphia Region.

View photos of the event.

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2015 PNC Bank LGBT Business Award Winner Announced

On May 11th at the IBA’s Annual Business Leaders Luncheon, Paula Fryland, Regional President, PNC Bank, Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey presented the 2015 $10,000 PNC Bank LGBT Business Award to IBA Members, Holly Johnson & Stacey Vey of Stir Lounge – the first female owned business to be awarded the annual cash grant.

The PNC Bank LGBT Business Award, now in its 5th year, is a program designed to directly impact the local LGBT business community and its allies. This year, in recognition of the 5th year of the program, PNC doubled the award to $10,000. The award is a one-time grant given to an IBA Member business that demonstrates a well-defined plan for growth, including innovation, sustainability, and ongoing contribution to the community.

“We’re incredibly honored to be the first female business to receive this award and really want to thank PNC Bank and the IBA for this opportunity!” said Holly Johnson. The bar owners plan to use the award to expand Stir’s kitchen “to one that is more spacious and well-equipped.” They also plan on offering a savory food menu in the future.

Best of luck and congratulations, Holly & Stacey!

View more photos of the the presentation of the 2015 PNC Bank LGBT Business Award and Annual Business Leaders Luncheon.

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IBA Welcomes Its Newest Members to the Chamber

On April 8th, IBA Members and the Board of Directors welcomed the newest members to the Chamber at the Spring Member Welcoming Event! A great night of networking was had, while taking in some of the magnificent views of the Philadelphia skyline, thanks to our host, Mickey Rowley and his staff at the Top of the Tower.

Thanks also, to so many of our newest members who came out to join us! It was great to see that the IBA continues to grow in numbers and in the representation of the great diversity in the LGBT business community throughout the region!

One of the highlights of the evening was the awarding of the 2015 IBA/DVLF Scholarship to Robert Reid—a Drexel University sophomore working toward his degree in accounting & finance. Robert was selected to be the recipient of this year’s scholarship from among a dozen applicants from area colleges and universities after a rigorous selection process. Upon winning the scholarship, Robert had this to say to Jen Colletta, Editor of PGN, “I was surprised and really happy because, considering I’m still transitioning and integrating into the LGBTQ community, this was validation and support that IBA sees what I’ve done, where I plan to go and supports that,” he said. “That’s a really powerful thing for me.”

DVLF Executive Director, Samantha Giusti and IBA Board President, Rich Horrow were on hand present Robert with a check for $2,500 which will assist him in his studies at Drexel.
View more photos from the evening.

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IBA WiBs Commemorate Women’s History Month

On Tuesday, March 10th 2015, a unique conversation took place with some of the Women Leaders of Philadelphia. At the stunning Skyline Room, provided by the Free Library of Philadelphia, friends and members of the IBA listened intently to a wonderful panelist lineup consisting of Nellie Fitzpatrick, Betty Long, J’nelle Clements and Dr. Laura Sicola.

This esteemed panel candidly shared their thoughts and personal experiences relating to the building blocks of fortitude: stories of confidence, tenacity, bravery and resolve filled the room, engaging the attendees and challenging minds. The superb event was organized by our WiB Committee in celebration of Women’s History Month.

For more photos of the event, go to our FaceBook page.

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IBA Signs Amicus Curiae Brief in Fight for Marriage Equality

The Independence Business Alliance signed on to an amicus curiae brief filed by Morgan Lewis in the United States Supreme Court stating that all couples should have the right to marry. The brief makes a business case for legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.

The IBA is one of 379 employers and employer organizations urging the High Court to consider the burdens imposed on both employers and employees by a fractured legal landscape with no uniform rule on same-sex marriage. The amicus curiae brief was filed in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, and urges the US Supreme Court to affirm a uniform principle that all couples share in the right to marry.

You can read the full brief here.

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Governor Wolf Calls for LGBT Non-Discrimination Laws

In his budget address on March 3rd, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf took time to mention the LGBT community, calling for laws that would protect LGBT people from being fired from their jobs, evicted from housing or turned away from places of business just for being gay.

“The companies and countries that are thriving in today’s global economy are those that are committed to diversity, inclusion, and fairness,” the Governor said. “All Pennsylvania’s families deserve those same opportunities, no matter what their race, sexual orientation, where they started life, or who they are.”

Equality PA Executive Director Ted Martin applauded Wolf for shining more light on the issue: “We truly appreciate Governor Wolf recognizing that discrimination protections are needed,” he said in a press release. “Most people in Pennsylvania are shocked to learn that people can still be fired from a job, evicted, or turned away from a business just for being gay or transgender. It’s time to update our laws to make sure that all people in Pennsylvania have the opportunity to earn a living and make a better life for themselves and their families.”

The last legislative session saw two bills that would protect Pennsylvania LGBT people from such discrimination: HB and SB 300, in the House and Senate, respectively. Unfortunately, they never made it to the floor for a vote, despite having bi-partisan support and a record number of sponsors. Equality PA notes that new LGBT non-discrimination bills are expected to be introduced in the coming session. The IBA is proud to partner with Equality PA on their Campaign for Fairness and join the fight to end discrimination for all Pennsylvanians.

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Historic Partnership between NGLCC and the U.S. Small Business Administration

On Thursday, February 5th, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) entered a historic and strategic partnership intended to strengthen and support the LGBT business community.

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and NGLCC co-founder and President Justin Nelson signed the agreement, dubbed the LGBT Business Builder, at NGLCC headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The purpose of the LGBT Business Builder is to bring together the expertise and resources of both SBA district offices and NGLCC’s 38 local affiliate chambers. Businesses will learn how to leverage LGBTBE certification and explore opportunities through SBA’s suite of services around government contracting, exporting, and other SBA initiatives.

To read the full article on this historic initiative, click HERE.

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The IBA Welcomes its Newest Corporate Partner: Independence Blue Cross

The IBA is pleased to welcome Independence Blue Cross (Independence) as its newest Corporate Partner. Independence is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With its affiliates, Independence serves 9.6 million people nationwide, including 2.5 million in the region.

For more than 75 years, Independence has been enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities it serves by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. Independence is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Amid an ever-changing health care landscape, Independence will provide IBA members expert advice and special training sessions about health insurance basics, the Affordable Care Act, health care coverage, and more through this vital partnership. For more information, visit

Welcome aboard, Independence Blue Cross!

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IBA Launches New Website:

The IBA, along with IBA member business and web developers, YIKES, Inc., is thrilled to announce the launch of the new IBA website!

There are many improvements and new features for our members and visitors to the site. Some of the highlights include:

  • Enhanced Member Profiles with more opportunities for our Members to promote themselves, their products or services
  • Improved user experience easy navigation, including effortless interaction for searching the member directory
  • Smooth and secure event RSVP process
  • RFP Board – List your RFPs for wide exposure to IBA members and visitors
  • Member login will provide access to post exclusive member-to-member discounts, RFP posting board, and other member-only benefits.

And much, much more!

The IBA extends its thanks to Tracy Levesque and her team at YIKES, Inc. for providing the region’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce with a website that will be the resource for the area’s LGBT Business Community and its Allies.

Finally, we are pleased to share that you can now find us at! This new name invites all members and visitors to think of the IBA when doing business in Greater Philadelphia.

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IBA Recognized as a Top Business Networking Association

The Philadelphia Business Journal, in its November 14th issue, recognized the IBA in its annual listing of the Top Business Networking Associations and Groups in the Philadelphia Region. For the second year in a row, the IBA is included on this prestigious list, ranked at #15, with 235 members (as of September, 2014). Currently, IBA membership stands at 250 and growing thanks to the continued support of our Members, Corporate Partners, Volunteers and the entire LGBT and allied business community. We are very proud!

For more information on how to become a member of the IBA, contact IBA Executive Administrator, Tom Cavanaugh at 215-557-0190 or

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