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A Look Back: Notable Inner City 100 Alumni

With the 20th anniversary of the Inner City 100 (IC100) program taking place this year, it’s a perfect time to look back at past IC100 winners and see how their participation impacted their lives, careers and communities. The broad range of individuals represented in the IC100 list is ever-changing, but they all have a few things in common: a commitment to smart growth, dedication to improving their businesses, and a strong obligation to improving their communities through creating opportunity. IC100’s top alumni demonstrate these traits and more, and their inclusion on the IC100 list has affected both the success of their businesses, as well as their personal brands.


Bo Menkiti

CEO of The Menkiti Group and Keller Williams Capital Properties,

First Appearance on the List: 2012

As both the fastest-growing inner city company in Washington D.C. and the 9th fastest-growing inner city company in the country, Bo was recognized by ICIC for his excellence in business. His companies have continued to succeed since 2012, and Menkiti’s decision to keep his company headquartered in the inner city proved to be an important aspect of the company’s identity, and continues to help shape their growth. His work has been featured in the books “How To Change the World” and “The Power of Social Innovation.” Along with recognition from Ebony and Inc. Magazine, he was being named a Minority Business Leader by the Washington Business Journal. In 2017, Menkiti was awarded the Marcia Lamb Inner City Innovation Award by ICIC, which recognized his visionary leadership and position at the forefront of creating positive change in urban economic development.


Robert Wallace

CEO of BithEnergy,

First Appearance on the List: 2015

Wallace previously participated in Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC), creating a winning plan for his company as he strove to create environmental equality through the use of green energy by helping businesses reduce energy usage and achieve cost savings. In 2015, his was the fastest-growing inner city business in America and he received the Staples Business Growth Award in recognition of this extraordinary achievement. BithEnergy’s success continues as Wallace uses the connections he formed to leverage resources and keep growing. Wallace has continued to help other entrepreneurs by publishing five books on wealth creation, strategic partnerships, emerging markets, and entrepreneurship along with serving as a mentor to high school and college students and as Affiliate Professor of Business at the Loyola University Sellinger School of Business.


Martha De La Torre

CEO of El Clasificado,

First Appearance on the List: 2010

Martha was another winner of the Marcia Lamb Inner City Innovation Award, receiving it in 2016 after she grew her business to over 1.5 million readers with a weekly circulation of 510,000 in over 300 cities, and transforming El Clasificado into EC Hispanic Media, a media company allowing advertisers to reach Spanish and bilingual communities. Martha has been featured on the IC100 list seven times, and continues to find ways to respond to changing markets. She also serves on the Board of Regents for Loyola Marymount University, the Managing Committee of The International Classified Media Association, and the Board of Directors for the Latino Coalition. In addition to her business success, Martha also gives time back to her community by serving on the boards of three nonprofits: the Los Angeles County Education Foundation, Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic, and the Loyola Marymount University’s Mexican American Alumni Assocation.


Antwayne Ford

CEO of Enlightened, Inc.,

First Appearance on the List: 2014

While at the IC100, he bonded with Bo Menkiti, discussing the challenges that business owners in their area faced and spending time speaking about the opportunities available. The two continue to work together after being selected by the Washington, D.C. Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development as leaders of the city’s MLK Gateway Project, creating a joint venture between the two companies to create a thriving commercial area. Like our other top alumni, Antwayne has leveraged his success into various ways to help others, serving as the chairman of the board of directors for the DC Chamber of Commerce in 2013, on the presidential council for the U.S. Black Chamber, and the board of directors for the Downtown Blusters Geriatric Day Care Center. Antwayne has also helped raise funds for the American Heart Assocation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, provides internships for inner-city youth, and helped Enlightened establish the John and Katherine Ford Fund to provide business-restoration and educationsupport funds to Ferguson, MO.

Those interested in attending this year’s Inner City 100 Awards & Conference can register here.


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