STL African Chamber's Segun Babalola "St. Louis is a thriving city with jobs — partly thanks to immigrants like me"

Segun Babalola is president and co-founder of the St. Louis African Chamber of Commerce.


I grew up in Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, but in 2005, I came to the U.S. as a student to create a better life for myself. I knew one person in the St. Louis region when I was accepted into Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.

After graduating with a degree in marketing, I moved to St. Louis, worked odd jobs and became involved in city politics. I wanted to be part of the decision-making to change the city for the better. I worked for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, creating housing redevelopment plans to bring in new businesses and return abandoned or underutilized sites to productive use.

In 2017, with the assistance of the regional St. Louis Mosaic Project, a program to welcome immigrants and help them integrate into American life, I founded the African Chamber of Commerce. At the chamber, we’re focused on career development for African professionals and connecting St. Louis-area businesses to consumers and companies in Africa.

Throughout my professional journey, I have found St. Louis residents to be friendly and welcoming. In many ways, this area functions like a small town; one person is only a degree or two away from a beneficial connection. And so I was easily able to network here and find job assistance through the organizations like the International Institute of St. Louis.