Cokie Nanka

Senior Analyst

Cokie Nanka

Cokie joined Urbane with a background in community and economic development, informal economies, and diaspora development. She is passionate about  leveraging cultural and community assets to foster inclusive and equitable development.

At Urbane, Cokie supports various economic development projects – with an emphasis on small businesses and economic opportunity. Cokie coordinated outreach and engagement in a  joint public and civic sector initiative that aimed to foster an equitable small business support ecosystem. The work centers on capital access and wealth generation, food and housing stability, and barriers and opportunities for Philadelphia’s small businesses. She also worked closely with the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia to develop a strategic plan that enhance its influence on the independent business ecosystem.

While in graduate school, Cokie worked extensively to understand small business development, informal economies. She contributed a white paper on informal sector integration in Liberia for Penn’s Institute for Urbane Research. Cokie also earned the Sellers Summer Fellowshipand interned in Liberia, where she administered an economic development survey in two of Liberia’s most densely populated communities. Cokie also worked as a Portfolio Management Intern at Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, where she operationalized her interest in small business development and community impact to assess their Community Capital program.

Cokie holds a B.A. in International Relations (with a concentration in International Security), and a minor in Italian from Tufts University. She also holds a Master of City Planning degree from the Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, where she specialized in Community and Economic Development. She currently lives in Philadelphia, and spends her free time involved in the local community. She formerly served as a mentor for the Minds Matter Program.