Boise Transformed a Burnt Down Strip Mall into a Market for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

  • Boise city planners and developers worked together to transform a burned out strip mall into Boise International Market, an entrepreneur incubator which houses 27 immigrant and refugee owned small businesses in Boise’s “The Bench” neighborhood.
  • Boise International Market helps immigrant entrepreneurs move beyond the starting line through assistant in securing affordable space, and the opportunity to start business at low rates and with significantly low risk. MicroEnterprise Training & Assistance, a Boise-based nonprofit program works with the small business owners to connect them with micro-lending resources, business development training, mentoring, marketing and design professionals, and assistance in navigating permitting and licensing.
  • Boise International Market has become a multi-functional community gathering place. The Treasure Valley region’s foreign born population includes over 42,000 people from over 100 different countries.  BIM hosts frequent cultural celebrations and events, allowing for cultural exchange and celebration as well as intelligence-sharing.
  • Adaptive reuse can transform blighted or abandoned places into vibrant public space and valuable resources for economic and community development.
  • Boise’s poverty rate is 15.6%.

Author: James Keblas

James Keblas is a consultant to government and organizations looking for the cultural and economic benefits of developing a more creative community. His passion for solving problems with creativity is reflected in the blog and podcast called City Inspired, where he hopes to help leaders get good ideas. He is a punk rocker with a degree from the University of Washington’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning. He is married to a beautiful and talented artist and they have identical twin boys. They ride scooters around town a lot.

Tagged with: