Urban Business Initiatives

Research shows that supporting the growth of inner city businesses is the most effective strategy for increasing inner city employment. Inner city companies hire a significantly higher share of inner city residents than their urban counterparts.

Contrary to conventional thinking, inner city businesses include more than just small, locally-owned businesses (the proverbial “mom and pop” shops). Nine percent of all U.S. business establishments are located in the inner city and the size distribution of inner city firms is similar to all U.S. firms. The average firm size in the inner city (19 employees) is 27% higher than the U.S. as a whole. In 2015, high-growth inner city firms reported an average of $12 million in annual revenue, 62 full time employees, and a five-year growth rate of 378%.

ICIC’s urban networks and nationally recognized inner city business programs are designed to identify and support the growth of businesses in the urban core. Inner city businesses are thriving, but they can be difficult to find. Our research shows they are often missing in public and proprietary data sets.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses: ICIC partners with Goldman Sachs to identify high-potential entrepreneurs for the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative. The program connects business owners in underserved communities to a comprehensive program of education and support. To date, the program has served over 4,600 small business owners across 44 states.

Inner City Capital Connections: Inner City Capital Connections, launched in 2005 in partnership with Bank of America, helps match investment-ready inner city companies with growth capital. The program has served 837 businesses that have raised over $1.3 billion in capital.

Inner City 100: The Inner City 100 recognizes the fastest-growing inner city companies in the U.S. each year. The annual list is published in FORTUNE and the winners attend our annual education and awards conference in Boston. Since 1999, we have recognized over 800 fast-growing inner city firms that include some of today’s most creative entrepreneurs: Coyote Logistics, Happy Family, Revolution Foods, and TerraCycle.

Custom Programs: ICIC is a thought partner for more than 50 corporations and foundations invested in ICIC’s urban business initiatives. Each year we support these partners by developing customized business training programs.

We also offer virtual education programs and resources for inner city CEOs. Our webinar series features insights from senior executives sharing their unique expertise in a variety of topics. This free interactive series can help your company succeed in today’s urban marketplace.

Learn more about partnering with ICIC on our mission to support the growth of inner city businesses.

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