Black History Month

During Black History Month (BHM), ICIC remembers the celebration’s 2023 theme from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) – “Black Resistance”. Each of the more than 2,500 Black-owned businesses that ICIC has supported over the past 30 years, are points of resistance against historic and systemic oppression and, in the words of ASALH, “advocate for a dignified self-determined life in a just democratic society in the United States…” This is economic justice, the bedrock of why ICIC exists.  

This BHM and in light of all that has transpired just in this year alone, we stand with small businesses in underserved communities, especially Black-owned businesses, that uplift their communities through job creation and advancing generational wealth. 

Stories of Black Resistance

We want to elevate a few “stories of resistance” from Black business owners in our alumni network who display courage and strength while staying open for business and an ongoing commitment to helping their communities thrive.

AFRO News is the nation’s oldest Black-owned media outlet. Currently owned and operated by Dr. Toni Draper, the company was founded in 1892 by her great-grandfather, a freed slave and Civil War veteran named John Henry Murphy, who purchased the paper’s original printing press for $200. The weekly newspaper has been owned and operated by the Murphy family ever since and is the nation’s longest-running African-American-owned publication. Read More

Journey Steel Inc.
Journey Steel Inc. is a self-performing certified minority- and woman-owned business providing structural and miscellaneous steel fabrication and erection. In 2016, Journey Steel started its nonprofit arm, Journeys Soaring Impact, a vocational program that provides local high school seniors with hands-on training in the ironworking field. The company also designates 3% of its spending to other minority- and women-owned businesses; and donates 10% of its profits to community impact programs. Read More

One Day Came
President and CEO David Delancy III says that his family-owned construction company One Day Came is about realizing personal and professional goals. The company, which builds schools, aviation projects, and buildings for retail, hospitality, and health care, was named for the idea that dreams of achieving success “one day” will become a reality with hard work. Read More

The Crabby Shack
Co-owners Gwen Woods and Fifi Bell had no prior food industry experience and left careers in fashion and music to open The Crabby Shack, a home-style restaurant that serves the crab dishes both grew up on. Their “seafood with soul” take on crab, lobster, and other ocean delights is so popular they added a second location in Brooklyn and they also ship nationally. Read More

The Tactile Group
Being Black and gay, Marc Coleman grew frustrated by the glass ceiling in corporate America so he created his own space where the only limitations were his own drive for success. He formed Tactile Design Group, a software development firm that specializes in cloud-based application development, data collection and visualization, cyber security, and content management. His mantra – “designed to give a damn” – represents his company’s ethos to create products that improve the lives of all. Read More

Jamaica Mi Hungry
Jamaica Mi Hungry is an extremely popular food truck and restaurant business based in Boston. The restaurant is owned by chef Ernie Campbell and his partner Aquila Kentish, an alumna of ICIC’s Inner City Capital Connections program. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve opened a new brick-and-mortar restaurant and managed kitchen operations for an initiative bringing meals to those in need. Read More

Opportunities to Resist

However you choose to celebrate Black History Month, take the “opportunity to resist” by supporting your local Black small businesses and nominating them for some of our upcoming programs specifically designed for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)- and/or woman-owned businesses: 

  • BIPOC Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (BETA) is a new eight-week program designed to give BIPOC entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs in Rhode Island the knowledge, tools, and access to the capital they need to acquire and run an already existing and successful small business. BETA is now accepting applications for the 2023 cohort, which starts on Saturday, March 4.  
  • Building for Growth (BFG) is a national, online, tuition-free executive education program that helps BIPOC- and woman-owned construction contractors build capacity and develop sustainable growth strategies that position their businesses to increase revenues and profits. The BFG program launched its inaugural cohort in 2022 serving 54 construction businesses from 19 states, 91% of which were BIPOC-owned and 53% were woman-owned. In 2023, BFG is running two cohorts and is now accepting applications and nominations. The application deadline for the West Coast-focused cohort is Friday, March 10, with classes starting on Tuesday, April 25. The application deadline for the National cohort is Friday, June 9, with classes beginning on Tuesday, July 25.


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