FAQs

Click on a topic below:

General

Structure and Participation

Eligibility

Applications and Nominations

Value and Impact

Don’t see your question? Contact us at iccc@icic.og or 617.238.3019

 

 

General

WHAT IS INNER CITY CAPITAL CONNECTIONS (ICCC)?

ICCC is an executive education and training program with the goal of promoting economic prosperity in underserved communities. It helps established urban small businesses create and maintain sustainable growth and, in turn, create more good jobs where they are needed most. It is the country’s only program that educates inner city businesses about different forms of capital and then connects them with potential capital providers.

WHO IS INITIATIVE FOR A COMPETITIVE INNER CITY (ICIC)?

Founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, ICIC is a national nonprofit organization and the leading authority on U.S. inner city economies and the businesses that thrive there. ICIC’s mission is to drive economic prosperity in America’s inner cities through private sector investment to create jobs, income and wealth for local residents. In addition to a Research and Advisory practice, ICIC has several Urban Business Initiatives (UBIs), which include the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program. For more information visit icic.org.

WHERE DOES ICCC OPERATE?

ICCC is a national program, open to all small businesses in the U.S. that meet our required criteria (see “Eligibility” FAQs for more information). Each year, participants convene in several regional locations throughout the country to kickoff the program. In 2017, ICCC will have kickoffs in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Springfield, Tampa and Washington D.C. Because the majority of the curriculum is delivered virtually, businesses that are not located in one of these cities are still eligible and encouraged to participate.

WHY WAS ICCC STARTED?

In 2005 the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) launched the ICCC program to address challenges faced by urban business owners. Through its research and work with inner city businesses, ICIC recognized that the obstacles to growth and capital are often intensified in urban locations. Inner city businesses most commonly cite insufficient capital as a key barrier to growth, and 75% of those in need of capital cite both lack of knowledge and relationships as barriers to obtaining it. ICCC’s unique structure combines education with access to potential capital providers, ultimately promoting sustainable business growth in urban areas.

 

Structure and Participation

 

HOW IS THE PROGRAM STRUCTURED?

The program combines interactive in-person and virtual sessions taught by leading business experts and
academics. The program has four components:

  • One in-person executive education seminar (hosted regionally)
  • Up to 7 executive education webinars
  • Minimum of two hours of individualized coaching
  • A national culminating conference

After completing the seminar, webinars and coaching sessions, participants apply what they have learned at the national culminating conference. There, participants have the opportunity to pitch to capital providers, get live feedback and potentially get connected to capital.

WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT?

It takes approximately 40 hours over a 3-6 month period to complete all of the program components. We understand that as business owners, time is valuable to our participants and pride ourselves on delivering a program that is concise yet proven effective. ICCC alumni consistently tell us that the time they spent on the program was a valuable and rewarding investment.

CAN A BUSINESS THAT IS NOT LOCATED IN A SEMINAR CITY STILL PARTICIPATE?

Yes! As long as the required criteria are met, businesses from any U.S. location can participate. If a participant is not located in a seminar city, they may choose to attend the seminar that is most convenient to them.

WHAT TYPES OF TOPICS AND SKILLS DO PARTICIPANTS LEARN?

Specific topics include marketing strategy, talent management, entrepreneurial finance, negotiation and persuasion, and presentation skills. Participants will leave with actionable strategies for measuring growth, creating harmony between employees and customers, and building a team that supports business goals. While the topics are refreshed frequently to reflect current business trends, the program content is consistently designed to help businesses build capacity and achieve sustainable growth.

CAN ANOTHER COMPANY REPRESENTATIVE PARTICIPATE ON BEHALF OF THE BUSINESS OWNER?

ICCC’s educational content is carefully designed for business owners, and the seminars and culminating conference offer unique networking opportunities for CEOs. However, on a case-by-case basis, and with approval from ICCC, a partner or executive who would benefit from the program may participate in the owner’s place.

WHAT IS THE COST TO PARTICIPATE?

The program is offered at no cost to all accepted participants. Participants are responsible for travel and lodging related to the in-person seminar and culminating conference.

CAN I BRING A GUEST TO THE SEMINAR AND/OR CULMINATING CONFERENCE?

As long as there are enough seats available, participants may bring an executive team member or someone who is preparing to become a c-suite executive. Please contact ICCC to check capacity at upcoming events.

 

Eligibility

WHAT CRITERIA MUST BE MET IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROGRAM?

A business must meet all of the following criteria in order to be eligible for participation in ICCC*:

  • Be an independent for-profit or not-for-profit corporation, partnership or proprietorship
  • Meet one of the following requirements:
    • Have its headquarters or more than 51% of its physical operations located in an economically distressed area
    • Have more than 40% of employees residing in an economically distressed area
    • Be in the growth-to-exit stage (ICCC does not accept start-up companies)

If you are unsure about a company’s eligibility, please call or email us at 617-238-3019 or iccc@icic.org.

*On a case-by-case basis, ICCC will consider businesses that do not meet all of the specified criteria.

HOW IS ELIGIBILITY VERIFIED?

ICCC reviews all applications and nominations. ICCC then contacts business owners individually to verify their company’s eligibility and offer accepted businesses a place in the program.

CAN STARTUP COMPANIES PARTICIPATE?

No. The program content is designed to help established businesses grow, and so companies are required to be in the growth-to-exit stage and have $2 million or more in annual revenue. We encourage startups follow the program’s success, and then apply once their businesses meet the required criteria.

 

Applications and Nominations

 

HOW DOES A BUSINESS GET CONSIDERED FOR THE ICCC PROGRAM?

ICCC participants are either nominated by a third-party or apply directly to the program. We review all applications and nominations, and then contact business owners individually to verify their eligibility and offer accepted businesses a place in the program.

HOW CAN I APPLY?

Please fill out an application form here.

HOW CAN I NOMINATE A BUSINESS?

Please fill out a nomination form here.

HOW MANY BUSINESSES CAN ONE PERSON OR ORGANIZATION NOMINATE?

There is no limit to the number of businesses one person or organization can nominate for the program. ICCC works to verify the eligibility of each company and therefore encourages nominators to be highly inclusive when nominating potential participants..

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A BUSINESS IS NOMINATED?

ICCC reviews the nomination to verify eligibility of the business (see “Eligibility” FAQs for our required criteria). If the business is eligible, ICCC then contacts the business to alert them of their nomination and offer them a spot in the program. ICCC also contacts nominators to inform them of the status of each nominee they submitted.

 

Value and Impact

WHAT MAIN BENEFITS DO PARTICIPANTS GET FROM THE PROGRAM?

Participants benefit from the program’s business insight and professional development opportunities. Specifically, we strive to ensure each participant walks away with the following:

  • New perspective on sustainable growth strategies and understanding of how to apply them
  • Deepened knowledge of different types of capital and the best uses for each one
  • Coaching on and practice making pitches to potential capital providers
  • Networking opportunities with business owners, experts, academics and capital providers in your region and nationwide

IS THERE VALUE FOR BUSINESSES WHO ARE NOT ACTIVELY SEEKING CAPITAL?

ICCC is a valuable experience for established small businesses that are looking to grow. If your business is n o t actively seeking capital, you will still benefit from current teachings on strategic planning, talent management, and marketing and sales tactics, and unique networking opportunities. You and your business will benefit from a new perspective on sustainable growth, regardless of whether or not you choose to seek capital after the program.

IS THERE VALUE FOR PARTICIPANTS WHO HOLD A MASTER’S DEGREE AND/OR HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR SEVERAL DECADES?

Absolutely! Many of our alumni are credentialed and experienced business owners and still choose to complete the program more than once! While the curriculum maintains a focus on sustainable growth and accessing capital, we review the content each year to ensure it reflects the most current business trends and thought. In addition, the valuable coaching, critiquing and networking opportunities that are focused on accessing capital are unique to ICCC.

WHY IS ICCC UNIQUE?

We’re proud to offer a program with several distinguishing aspects:

  • Location is a central feature of the program and its mission, which is to promote sustainable business growth in inner cities
  • It requires a minimal time commitment (40 hours over 3-6 months) to complete
  • It is the only program that combines education with access to potential capital providers
  • All participants benefit from both individual and small-group coaching and mentoring

WHAT IS ICCC’S IMPACT?

We measure the program’s success in two ways: the growth of alumni businesses and the wealth they create in their communities. Since 2005, 1,122 participants have raised over $1.4 billion in capital and created over 12,000 jobs, with 61% of those jobs paying over $40,000. On average, alumni have grown their revenues an average of 184%.


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