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Small Business Week Reminds Us: Small Businesses Have a Big Impact

Written by Amanda Maher

For over two decades, urban businesses have been the primary vehicle to achieve ICIC’s mission on the ground. We believe that business growth is essential to inner city economies and we work to identify and provide the support that urban businesses need to grow their companies and their local economies. As we kick off Small Business Week, celebrated the first week of May each year, we’re reminded of the impact small businesses have on our communities. For instance:

  • Small business is America’s number one job creator. SBA data shows that between 2009 and 2015, small businesses created more than four million new jobs. Small businesses are responsible for creating two out of every three net new jobs in the U.S.
  • America’s 28 million small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms and employ nearly half of all private sector employees, according to the SBA.
  • Half of the nation’s goods and services are produced by small businesses.

Simply, small businesses are crucial to the American economy.

Nowhere is this more evident than in our inner cities. While many people tend to think of small businesses as small, locally-owned “mom and pop” stores, they represent much more than that. According to ICIC’s data, the average inner city firm employs 19 people (25 percent higher than the U.S. average), and inner city companies encompass diverse industries from IT to food production, from social service providers to manufacturing.

Research shows that supporting the growth of inner city businesses is an effective strategy for increasing inner city employment and ultimately, reducing poverty. Education, capital access and networking are particularly valuable in helping inner city businesses grow and succeed. Yet many small businesses don’t receive the support they need to do just that.

Through our urban business initiatives, ICIC helps to address these needs:

  • ICIC has partnered with Goldman Sachs to identify high-potential entrepreneurs for the 10,000 Small Businesses program, which connects business owners from all 50 states with practical management and business education, a network of peers and advisors and access to capital opportunities.This week, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses released its third impact report, Stimulating Small Business Growth. The report shows that the program has now reached 6,100 businesses in the U.S. and the UK, in over a dozen industries. After 30 months, more than four out of five of those participants had increased their revenues.
  • Through our Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program, ICIC helps match investment-ready inner city companies with growth capital. Between 2005, when the program launched, and 2014, 837 companies participated in ICCC, raising over $1.32 billion in capital and creating over 11,000 jobs. And the program is growing – this year, ICCC will begin in nine cities: Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Houston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Worcester. The culminating conference will be held in New York City.
  • Finally, our Inner City 100 program recognizes America’s fastest-growing inner city companies each year. The annual list is published in Fortune magazine and winners are invited to attend the annual education and awards conference in Boston. Last year’s winners had an average growth rate of 378 percent.

While ICIC’s programs offer valuable resources and technical assistance, there is more work to be done. It’s about time we “level the playing field for small businesses,” Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, told USA Today.

This Small Business Week, the numbers show that small businesses have a big economic impact – one that ICIC’s urban business initiatives can help to amplify. And this week, ICIC will continue our effort in guiding businesses along a path to growth – from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses to the Inner City 100 – an effort that continues each of the 52 weeks per year.

Apply for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at The deadline for the Fall 2016 National Cohort is May 10!

Inner City Capital Connections is accepting applications for its 2016 programs in cities across the U.S. Learn more and nominate a company or apply


ICIC drives inclusive economic prosperity in under-resourced communities through innovative research and programs to create jobs, income, and wealth for local residents.


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