As the leading authority on inner city economies and the companies that thrive there, ICIC plays a unique role in urban investment and public policy decisions. With business leaders, we speak the language of business advantage and shared value and have a proven track record of working with city leaders to help them develop custom data-driven economic growth plans.
Our proprietary State of the Inner City Economies (SICE) database maps the economic performance, business vitality and resident prosperity of all American cities with a population greater than 75,000, which includes 328 inner cities. SICE is an indispensable resource to assess local competitive advantages and set strategies for inclusive economic growth. View a full list of the 328 cities in the U.S. with inner cities here.
Clusters are sets of related and interconnected industries operating within a specific geography. One can think of the automotive cluster in Detroit or the technology cluster in Silicon Valley. Clusters represent a region’s competitive assets and as such form a solid foundation for economic growth.
We believe that clusters should help organize all policies and investments directed at economic development, including support for small business growth (see The Missing Link: Clusters, Small Business Growth and Vibrant Urban Economies, 2015).
Despite their importance to economic development, city leaders are not always equipped with the strategies required to maximize the growth of targeted clusters in their cities. Our 2015 Playbook for Cluster Growth, Accelerating Cluster Growth: A Playbook for City Leaders was the first practical guide for U.S. city leaders on how to initiate cluster development.
Our latest report, Building Strong Clusters for Strong Urban Economies (2017) builds on these foundational recommendations, highlighting actionable insights for galvanizing cluster building efforts from four constructive case studies in the U.S.
At ICIC, we also conduct comprehensive industry assessments as part of our economic development advisory work to identify clusters with the highest potential to promote business growth and entrepreneurship. We partner with the U.S. Cluster Mapping Project to support our cluster analysis.
Grounded in a neighborhood cluster analysis, ICIC recently helped develop a business attraction and retention strategy for Boston’s Fairmount Indigo Corridor in partnership with Boston Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and The American City Coalition (see the Fairmount Indigo Corridor Business and Job Attraction and Retention Strategy, 2016).
ICIC’s Research & Advisory team also provides professional evaluation services grounded in our deep knowledge of non-profit organizations, small businesses and economic development. We have specific expertise in surveying businesses and entrepreneurs. For 18 years, ICIC has designed and fielded a survey of its Inner City 100 firms to capture insights about urban entrepreneurship, business growth, job creation, access to capital, supplier networks, and workforce development. Our 2014 report A Roadmap for Inner City Business Data Collection highlights strategies for collecting robust data on small businesses. As a partner on JPMorgan Chase’s Small Business Forward initiative, ICIC annually conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the organizations and the businesses the program supports in an effort to measure their performance and impact.
Below is a selection of ICIC’s past economic development research and advisory projects: