Entrepreneurship in the Nashville Immigrant Community was the subject and title of a discussion held Thursday, August 9 at TheLab Nashville, 624 Jefferson St, Nashville, Tennessee 37208. Hosted by 5 Star Nashville Party Bus and UrVoyce: New Media Agency, the evening focused on several New Americans who have started businesses in the Middle Tennessee region.
The event was inspired by a Facebook “Keep It Local Nashville” campaign, which featured 5 Star Nashville Party Bus in a commercial, along with two other local business owners. What all three of the companies in the campaign promotional advertisement had in common was that each business had Immigrant Ownership.
In an effort to celebrate this focus on entrepreneurs in Nashville who are immigrants, a group of concerned and inspired individuals got together to host this entertaining evening full of progressive conversation and networking. Joined by a few dozen of their specially invited guests, they showed the commercial on television monitors, and then had a discussion led by Immigration Advocate Mohamed Sukri Hassan. They also had remarks from 5-Star Party Bus Co-Owner Clarence Darkwa. Finger foods and beverages were provided.
The opening remarks by Immigration Advocate Mohamed Sukri Hassan were eye-opening. He noted that Nigerians have the highest income of any group in America. He also shared that immigrants tend to start businesses at a 28 % higher rate than the average for the nation as a whole. In Nashville, immigrants make up to 12% of the population, but own over 30% of the businesses.
Hassan referenced the “Global fluency” that immigrants frequently have in more abundance than native Americans, being the ability to see things and operate on a global level, frequently with multiple languages and nations. He also noted that Taxis (not Ubers/Lyfts) are frequently operated by black immigrant-owned companies. He concluded by noting that 62% of tech companies are founded by immigrants or children of immigrants, pointing out that Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant.
Host John Little said “As a native Nashvillian myself I’m so proud of Clarence and all the immigrant business owners featured in Facebook ad.” John then introduced his good friend Clarence Darkwa.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to partner with the most recognized brand in the world,” Darkwa said (referencing Facebook). “I love working hard, but also as a party bus owner love watching people party on the bus.”
“5 Star Nashville Party Bus is Nashville’s #1 Party Bus Service! We will be your designated party bus chauffeur. No matter where you want to go, let us help you create the best ride for any occasion!” is the rallying creed of the stellar party bus business run by Clarence Darkwa. “Frank Badou started a food truck and a party bus. Frank Badou is the previous owner who sold us the bus.” Frank has opened Nashville Chicken and Waffles food truck.
“I have been blessed to have been born in Ghana, but came to the US at age 10,” Clarence said, but he “kept both cultures.” Clarence thanked his dad for demonstrating his work ethic by example, his hustle. “It’s not what you say to your kids, it’s what they see you do,” he said. “Honestly it’s a struggle, but you have to have the passion,” he noted.
The event was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Tyra Donald of Nashville Now Concierge business, Josh Mundy of The LAB and Music City Cleaners, John Little, Jason Luntz, and photographer Nicholas Foster.
Delicious food was provided by The Horn Coffee, 619 Murfreesboro Road; call Ahmed Sayid or Zachariah Sayid at (615) 397-1977 or (615) 707-3735 for hours and catering. Call Clarence to reserve the 5 Star Nashville Party Bus at (615) 557-5100.