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Inner City 100 Symposium: Designing the Next Growth Opportunity

Written by Ginny Maceda

2014 marks the Inner City 100’s 16th year of identifying and spotlighting America’s fastest-growing inner city businesses and the dynamic individuals who lead them.  This year, ICIC has introduced a new dimension to its business growth list: 10×10.  The 2014 list will represent a snapshot of fast-growing inner city businesses within 10 distinct industry sectors. The winners will be announced and celebrated at ICIC’s annual Inner City 100 Symposium and Awards in Boston on October 15th-16th.

The Symposium is a one-of-a-kind event that brings together high-growth small business leaders for an intensive day of management education. Informed by ICIC research and work with urban businesses, we designed the agenda to highlight four key areas that often challenge inner city CEOs: Mergers and Acquisitions; Sustained Growth; Leadership; and Innovation. The Symposium agenda is designed to pinpoint the critical points of each area and transform them into opportunities for urban business advancement.

Participants will be challenged to think strategically about these topics by engaging with thought leaders from Harvard Business School and top industry leaders.  The four topics will each be presented from the best-practice perspective of a management professor as well as the empirical perspective of a CEO in the field.  Participants will also have the choice of an agenda track that focuses on the topic areas most relevant to their business.

Through a mix of interactive discussions, case studies, seminars, and networking sessions, the Symposium enables CEOs to develop action steps to tackle these issues in their business.  The 2014 Symposium will showcase a talented and dynamic group of industry and academic experts, including:

  • Stefan Thomke, Professor, Harvard Business School: Stefan is a leading authority on the management of innovation. He will be working through a management case study on design thinking and innovation at Apple, challenging participants to consider how they can be innovative both in product design and business strategy.
  • Seth Goldman, President and TeaEO of Honest Tea: With Symposium participants representing some of the fastest-growing companies in America, sustaining high growth is top of mind for these business leaders. Honest Tea has been identified as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies, growing from a home brew to being carried in over 100,000 outlets. Seth will offer insight on how he scaled his business while maintaining a mission-driven focus.
  • Dianne Hessan, Chair, Communispace: As leader of one of the fastest-growing social networking firms in America and a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Council for Innovation, Diane eats, sleeps, and breathes innovation. She will reflect on how businesses can spark innovation by listening to and partnering with their consumers.


For the more than 300 small business CEOs and small business support organizations in attendance, every moment at the Symposium is an opportunity to exchange ideas and connect to local and national resources. Register now to be a part of this innovative and energetic group of individuals who are expanding their knowledge base, networks, and maximizing opportunities for business growth.


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