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Blog: Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC)


Rebuilding Dreams: Two Maui Entrepreneurs’ Inspiring Journey Through Natural Disaster and Recovery


Picture a life on a beautiful island with a loving partner by your side, a thriving community, and a successful business. That's the life that Brandy and Eric Cajudoy created for themselves. Their desire to spend more quality time with their family inspired them to leave full-time employment and become entrepreneurs. In 2017, they co-founded Cajudoy Construction, a woman-owned/led, family-operated general construction company based in central Maui. The company specializes in residential builds and credits its steady growth to the close-knit community on the island. It was connections in the community that helped them expand their business portfolio from custom homes and remodeling to commercial projects. In 2023, Cajudoy Construction secured one of the highest-paying residential contracts the business ever had and its first government job. The Cajudoys felt ready for the future, and then, their world was set on fire. The wildfires that burned more than 6,000 acres across the island in the summer of 2023 have had a lasting impact. Although the couple did not lose personal property in the natural disaster, they have felt the repercussions of a changed economy. They’ve utilized all the skills in their toolbox, including skills learned in ICIC’s Building for Growth program, to recover the life they once had. Read More


What’s eSmart Recycling’s Why? Holistic Sustainability


Electronic waste is the fastest-growing municipal waste stream in the world, increasing 3-times faster than the world’s population. It represents 2% of the waste in landfills but accounts for almost 80% of toxic and hazardous waste. It is estimated that only 20% of the electronics produced in America are recycled. This is a staggering number, especially considering that around 300,000 computers are disposed of daily. Tony Selvaggio is an Inner City 100 Award winner, Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) alumnus, and CEO of eSmart Recycling. Selvaggio had a background in scrap metal and knew there was money to be made by salvaging parts from old computers. In 2016, he launched eSmart Recycling, a company that combines environmental sustainability and social impact metrics, resulting in a holistic approach to offsetting carbon emissions through recycling technology at a corporate and residential level. As the U.S. prepares to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Selvaggio shares how fellow small business owners can celebrate with their team members, “A little goes a long way. Most people would love to help if they just knew how. Even a simple game or call to action to do one small thing, especially if it is measurable, can bring you together as a team and serve as a catalyst for change.” Read More


A Year of Recognition: Members of ICIC’s Alumni Network Receive Local and National Awards


The small business awards season is a time for entrepreneurs to be honored by various organizations, societies, and government agencies. ICIC’s Inner City Alumni Network (ICAN) members excelled during the 2023 awards season, receiving prestigious local and national awards. Among the award winners were:

  • Kimberly Black, CEO and President, Trusted Field Services
  • Cassandria Campbell, CEO, Fresh Food Generation
  • Lawrence Charles, Founder, Charles and Company
  • David Delancy, Owner and CEO, One Day Came
  • Vicki Gray, Founder and CEO, New Chapter HI Services
  • Cuong Quy “CQ” Huynh, Co-Founder, General Manager, and Treasurer, Rende Progress Capital
  • Louise Leduc Kennedy, Founding Attorney, West Hill Technology Counsel, Inc.
  • Pamela Nelson, Founder and CEO, Bracane Company
  • Caron Ng, CEO, NU-SET Inc.
  • Liseth Velez, Founder and CEO, LJV Development
The 2024 season will begin just before May and conclude in December. However, there are a few organizations that have already announced honorees. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) revealed the 14 winners of its 2024 Star Award, three of which are ICAN members: Michele Adams, CEO and President of Levy Recognition; Louise Leduc Kennedy, Founding Attorney of West Hill Technology Counsel, Inc.; and Barb Smith, President of Journey Steel. Read More


DMC Group: Building a Better Tomorrow


DMC Group, under the leadership of Mike Chaudhary and his son Yash, embodies a mission-driven approach to building a better tomorrow. Beginning as a demolition company in Detroit, DMC has blossomed into a significant player in the construction and development industry, aspiring to become Michigan's largest minority general contractor. With a foundation built on integrity, strong building practices, and respect for clients and partners, DMC has expanded its services to include site development, housing, and mixed-use projects, boasting revenues between $25-$30 million. This family-owned business, deeply rooted in personal values and professional excellence, has earned its place in the IC100 Hall of Fame by winning the Inner City 100 award five times, a testament to its impact on economic revitalization and employment in under-resourced communities. DMC's commitment extends beyond business achievements to environmental stewardship, community outreach, and providing second-chance employment opportunities, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to contributing positively to society and setting a legacy for future generations. Read More


Navigating Entrepreneurial Perseverance and Success: Diana Villegas and Nova Driving School


Diana Villegas's entrepreneurial journey is a testament to perseverance, innovation, and a strong commitment to community impact. Founded by her parents in 2003, Nova Driving School has flourished under Diana's leadership, now boasting a fleet of 60 vehicles with advanced technology for driving education. Diana's resilience and work ethic, shaped by her mother's diverse business pursuits in Ecuador, drive her success. Nova Driving School stands out not only for its quality and safety but also for its dedication to making a positive impact on the community. Through partnerships and initiatives like donating to organizations and engaging with underprivileged communities, Nova has experienced significant growth. Participating in programs like the ICCC Latinx cohort has further enriched Diana's insights, emphasizing the importance of self-motivation and employee support. Nova Driving School's accolades, including the Inner City 100 award and Inc. 5000 recognition, showcase its remarkable success and commitment to community engagement. As Nova continues to grow, Diana's unwavering dedication to giving back remains a guiding force for the future. Read More


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