Every year, 100 small inner city businesses receive recognition unlike any other: placement on the Inner City 100 list, published every year by Fortune magazine. The list recognizes the 100 fastest-growing inner city businesses in America, measured by top-line revenue growth over a 5-year period. With nominations and applications for our 2018 list open since January and closing next month, we think now is as good a time as any to look at the opportunities IC100 has brought to past winners, not to mention the tremendous growth that these businesses continue to experience.
One such opportunity is the Paving a Path to Growth workshop, which occurs annually and serves as an extension of the annual Inner City 100 Conference & Awards. This event facilitates peer-to-peer learning and networking among entrepreneurs in the networks of Staples, ICIC, and beyond. Every year sees a new city hosting the event, and this year’s took place in New York City. With the theme “Make Collaboration Your Next Inspiration,” the event featured Albert Cruz and Raul Collado of Clason Point Partners (CPP), based in Yonkers, NY, which provides various support services to government agencies in IT management, health informatics, and administrative, logistical, and financial support services. CPP was founded in 2011, and has experienced meteoric growth, with a five-year rate of 3828% and revenues growing from just over $100,000 five years ago to over $4.5 million today. Read more about their successes in our November blog post.
With numbers like these, it should be no surprise that Clason Point Partners enjoyed the privilege of being named the top Inner City 100 company in 2017. At this year’s Paving a Path to Growth event, President and Founder Albert Cruz and Vice President Raul Collado hosted a panel discussion with Loren Feldman of Forbes, which hosted the event. During the discussion, they spoke about the need to be persistent in business in the face of adversity, how they view taking risks, accepting failure, and how to move forward. When asked what the one thing you have to do to be successful, Raul responded by saying “that’s a trick question – you can’t do one thing, you have to be great at everything….we challenge ourselves to execute at every level.” Clason Point Partners is extremely successful, and part of that success comes from confronting good and bad problems and responding in a strategic and clear-headed manner. When faced with the opportunity to secure a $30 million contract, Albert asked Raul what they would do if they won it. Raul’s simple response was, “it’s a good problem to have.” Other businesses may have been too afraid to commit to an opportunity like theirs, but that’s what establishes a high-growth business – they understand that in order to grow, you have to take risks in the hope they pay off, and train your colleagues appropriately to manage unforeseen challenges.
Inclusion on the IC100 list is a boon to any business, and for Clason Point Partners in particular, receiving the coveted number one spot has not been a reason to rest; if anything, they want to make sure they continue to be on the list. Raul says: “It’s great to win the Inner City 100; if we win this once let’s make sure we go back and say ‘what did I do to the company to ensure our quality, support our people and customers, and grow?’, and get back on next year’s list.”
For businesses like Clason Point Partners which had a taste of what IC100’s recognition feels like, and how it serves as compensation for the countless hours they put into growing their businesses, the drive to stay on the list remains. For others, Clason Point Partners’ place on the list and their stunning growth rate should serve as encouragement that it’s possible to become the top inner city business in only five years. Those looking to secure their spot on the coveted IC100 list should apply today, and those who know a business which should be recognized – nominations are now open.