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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.
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.
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.
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.
The program combines interactive in-person and virtual sessions taught by leading business experts and
academics. The program has four components:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A business must meet all of the following criteria in order to be eligible for participation in ICCC*:
If you are unsure about a company’s eligibility, please call or email us at 617-238-3019 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*On a case-by-case basis, ICCC will consider businesses that do not meet all of the specified criteria.
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.
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 $500,000 or more in annual revenue. We encourage startups follow the program’s success, and then apply once their businesses meet the required criteria.
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.
Please fill out an application form here.
Please fill out a nomination form here.
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..
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.
Participants benefit from the program’s business insight and professional development opportunities. Specifically, we strive to ensure each participant walks away with the following:
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.
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.
We’re proud to offer a program with several distinguishing aspects:
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%.