This week, the U.S. celebrates its over 28 million small businesses that employ over 50% of the working population and create nearly two out of three new jobs. National Small Business Week, championed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, is in full swing in four cities this year– Kansas City, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Free programming, events and resources are connecting entrepreneurs across the country and offering them support for continued growth and job creation.
Here at ICIC, we know the value of small businesses, particularly within America’s urban cores. Almost all, or 99.67% of businesses located in America’s inner cities are small businesses with 500 or fewer employees. Moreover, 74% of inner city jobs are housed at small businesses.
This is why ICIC works to support inner city businesses from coast to coast. Over two decades of research on high-growth inner city firms, we’ve learned what inner city businesses need to succeed: (1) access to capital; (2) business and management education; and (3) firm recognition and access to business networks and contracting opportunities. ICIC’s host of urban business initiatives support inner city businesses and allow them to thrive.
Houston-based Clinical Trial Network (CTN) is one of those firms. An alumni of ICIC’s Inner City 100 and Inner City Capital Connections, as well as the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses, CTN Founder and CEO Dr. Nawab Baloch is paving the way for inner city job growth. CTN has developed a proven and streamlined process for collecting vital clinical trial data for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. With the growth of the medical and biotech sector, it’s no wonder that CTN now has sales in excess of $2.4 million and employs over 100 people.
By the time he landed on the 2013 Inner City 100 – a list of the fastest-growing inner city companies – CTN had a compound annual growth rate of 20%.
Realizing the success of his venture, Dr. Baloch has committed to giving back to the local community. Work at CTN includes developing a new model of healthcare delivery in order to provide Americans with affordable, quality healthcare at scale. In the inner city, where residents experience higher levels of health-related issues and are often underserved by affordable health care, Dr. Baloch partners with local community clinics to provide residents with free blood testing and diagnostic testing.
The desire to expand access to affordable healthcare made inner city Houston a natural choice for Dr. Baloch. Here, he was able to take advantage of world-class medical centers as well as special programs for inner city businesses, such as the HUB-Zone designation. In the 80% minority community where CTN is located, the firm is able to access a dense but underserved clientele—proving a win-win for both the company and residents alike. CTN embodies the principles of shared value through-and-through.
Not only is CTN a leader among inner city businesses, but now is also in the national spotlight. As part of National Small Business Week, the SBA is recognizing Dr. Nawab Baloch as the 2014 Houston District Small Business Person of the Year. The award, distributed at the state and district level, recognizes business staying power, employee and revenue growth, community contributions and innovation in products or services. Please join us in congratulating Nawab!