In February ICIC and Massachusetts 6th District Congressman Seth Moulton announced a partnership to strengthen the small business ecosystem in his district’s seven cities. Moulton’s North Shore district is the first in the nation to offer ICIC’s Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program as part of a region-wide strategy to stimulate business growth and job creation. The Enterprise Center at Salem State University’s hosted a kickoff event, where Congressman Moulton energized more than 100 community leaders around the effort. As a result, 24 North Shore businesses have already been accepted into the program.
Congressman Moulton’s commitment to the economic wellbeing of North Shore residents led him to ICCC, which helps creates good jobs and sustainable business growth by providing executive education to inner city companies throughout the nation. “Creating jobs and supporting small business growth are my top priorities in the Sixth District, so I am thrilled by the opportunity to bring this world-class entrepreneurship training program to our region,” said Moulton. The partnership not only marks the first time ICCC has taken a congressional district approach, but also the first time a sitting congressman has dedicated resources to the initiative.
After meeting with ICIC’s CEO Steve Grossman, Congressman Moulton and Moulton’s district director Rick Jakious set the plan in motion. Led by Economic Development Director Jason Denoncourt, Moulton’s team unfolded the idea to work regionally, rather than following ICCC’s traditional city-focused model. Nearly 9 out of 10 businesses in the region have five employees or less, and Denoncourt saw this as a unique opportunity to provide them with resources needed for growth. According to Moulton, “This partnership is a great example of the type of work that my Economic Development Director focuses on every single day, and I’m grateful to ICIC for bringing the Inner City Capital Connections program to the North Shore.”
ICCC has become an essential partner to the region’s inner city economic development strategy, with Moulton’s overarching goal being to energize business development in his district. The regional initiative was also spearheaded by Laura Swanson, executive director of the Enterprise Center. Her initiatives have focused on expanding regional economic development, making for a harmonious collaboration in support of North Shore businesses. Swanson foresees participants establishing a North Shore-focused alumni group, which could perpetuate the program’s benefits for years to come.
The ICCC program, described as a “40-hour mini MBA on steroids” by Grossman, addresses challenges faced by business owners by combining training and access to potential capital sources. ICIC’s research has shown that insufficient capital is a key barrier to growth, and that lack of knowledge and relationships compound this difficulty. ICCC includes in-person education seminars, executive education webinars, hours of individualized coaching, and a national culminating conference. At the conference, program participants have opportunities to pitch to investors, receive feedback, and potentially receive connections to debt and equity capital providers.
The potential of this pioneering partnership is tremendous, and is illustrated by the success of companies that have already take part: from 2005 to 2015, 1,100 companies have created more than 12,000 jobs, averaged 184% growth in revenue, and raised a collective $1.4 billion in capital. Congressman Moulton’s dedication to his region, his willingness to collaborate, and his understanding of economic issues facing small businesses make him and his team visionary partners for ICIC and the ICCC program. With companies throughout the district already committed to participating, ICIC is excited about the prospect of replicating this impactful model with other Members of Congress throughout the country.