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Pillar 2: Investment

Economic Development

Immigrant entrepreneurs are valuable members of our economy. They provide and offer work, pay taxes and buy goods in our region. They occupy a variety of economic niches and are positive contributors to the revitalization of the St. Louis Metro economy.

The Economic Development Department provides refugees and immigrants comprehensive technical assistance and financing that allows them to become economically independent. We draw on the experience and success of our partner organizations to introduce programs that have a proven track record across the nation.


The International Institute Community Development Corporation (IICDC) is a certified CDFI loan fund, founded in 2006, to assist refugees and immigrants start, strengthen and expand their businesses. We offer business development services that help refugees and immigrants become positive members of our community and in turn play a part in building secure and successful neighborhoods in St. Louis and the surrounding area. The IICDC offers a variety of financial products for savings, asset building, credit repair and micro lending. Our loan clients receive technical support before a loan is made, during the loan process and throughout the post-loan duration of their relationship with us.

The International Institute Global Farms Program is an agriculture-based career-training program for refugees. Our Global Farm is one of more than 50 community farms across the nation dedicated to refugee agriculture, an entrepreneurial movement that is spreading across the country. The program provides refugees with on-the-job and classroom based training in soil, crop, irrigation techniques in this climate and helps guide them towards becoming economically self-sufficient independent farmers. The program not only helps farmers in the production process, we also assist in taking produce to market and developing a more long term distribution network to support growth and sustainability.

Contact Information:

Suzanne LeLaurin, LCSW
314-773-9090, ext. 150

Click here to go to:Pillar 1: Immersion
Pillar 3: Inclusion