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ICIC’s Urban Business Initiatives Support Gateway City Entrepreneurs

Written by Steve Grossman, CEO, ICIC. This article originally appeared in MassInc’s Gateway Cities Journal.

In Lawrence, creative public-private partnerships have driven the CEO of a children’s discovery museum, Imajine That, to contemplate growth not only in terms of revenue but also opportunity for local workers and families. Imajine That was named to the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC)’s 2015 Inner City 100 list in recognition of an impressive five-year growth rate exceeding 300 percent. And yet, as the company joined Inner City 100 alumni including Massachusetts powerhouses Dancing Deer Bakery and JP Licks, the Imajine That team remains focused on the needs of the Lawrence community.

The momentum of Gateway City businesses was even more evident at the inaugural Boston training day for the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program last fall, where highly-motivated CEOs honed their pitches and connected with capital providers. Twelve of the 26 Massachusetts Gateway Cities were represented at the event, Lawrence leading the pack with eight participants. In 2016, ICIC aims to provide opportunities to CEOs from all 26 cities, with an ICCC training day in Boston on June 8 and another in Worcester in late September.

Founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, ICIC offers growing urban businesses access to executive education, training, capital providers and networks of supportive peers via the Inner City 100, Inner City Capital Connections and our partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. These programs support business leaders in Gateway Cities and beyond as they strengthen communities by creating good-paying jobs.

Each of these no-cost programs is now accepting applicants, and we invite all urban entrepreneurs to join a group of fellow business leaders who are shaping a better future for Massachusetts cities.

●      Through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, entrepreneurs from all 50 states have the opportunity to step away from day-to-day operations and focus on growth. We are now accepting applications for the upcoming Fall 2016 Class at Babson College, and the application deadline is April 20.

Visit the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses website for more information at, or register for one of our upcoming informational webinars here.

●      Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) supports businesses that are ready to take growth to the next level, providing them with training and support in connecting with capital providers. ICCC alumni have created over 11,000 jobs and secured more than $1.3 billion in capital. In 2016, the program will be held in 10 cities across the U.S., including Boston on June 8 and Worcester in late September.

Learn more here, nominate a business here, apply here.

●      The Inner City 100 recognizes the fastest-growing urban businesses in the country, providing them with access to national visibility through our partnership with Fortune magazine, networking and top business school faculty at the Inner City 100 Conference & Awards, scheduled for September 14, 2016 in Boston. Since the program’s inception, alumni have created over 115,000 jobs in their communities. Applications are now open for the 2016 list, with a deadline of April 1.

Learn more here, nominate a business here, apply here.

ICIC’s nominating partner network is key to identifying exceptional urban businesses. Nominators are members of the community who know their local business leaders best. Please follow the links above to nominate a promising Gateway City company and help foster urban entrepreneurship in your community.


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