Urban Business Initiatives

Research shows that supporting the growth of inner city businesses is the most effective strategy for increasing employment in these locations. Inner city companies hire a significantly higher share of inner city residents than their urban counterparts.

Contrary to conventional thinking, inner city businesses include more than just small, locally-owned businesses (the proverbial “mom and pop” shops). Nine percent of all U.S. business establishments are located in the inner city and the size distribution of inner city firms is similar to all U.S. firms. The average firm size in the inner city (19 employees) is 27% higher than the U.S. as a whole.

ICIC’s urban networks and nationally recognized inner city business programs are designed to identify and support the growth of businesses in the urban core. Inner city businesses are thriving, but they can be difficult to find. Our research shows they are often missing in public and proprietary data sets.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses: ICIC partners with Goldman Sachs to identify high-potential entrepreneurs for the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative. The program connects business owners in underserved communities to a comprehensive program of education and support. To date, the program has served more than 10,000 small business owners in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and  Puerto Rico.

Inner City Capital Connections: Inner City Capital Connections, launched in 2005 in partnership with Bank of America, helps match investment-ready inner city companies with growth capital. The program has served 3,836 businesses that have raised over $2.3 billion in capital.

Inner City 100: The Inner City 100 has recognized and celebrated the fastest-growing businesses in under-resourced communities in the U.S. each year since 1999. The list is published annually and unveiled at our annual national education and awards conference in December. Inner City 100 winners include some of today’s most creative entrepreneurs: Coyote Logistics, Happy Family, Revolution Foods, and TerraCycle.

Cultivate Small Business: Cultivate Small Business is designed to help early-stage entrepreneurs in low-income neighborhoods build and sustain their businesses, with a focus on women, minority and immigrant owned businesses in food-related industries. The program provides industry-specific education, networks and mentoring as well as small capital grants for business owners.

We also offer virtual education programs and resources for inner city CEOs. Our webinar series features insights from senior executives sharing their unique expertise in a variety of topics. This free interactive series can help your company succeed in today’s urban marketplace.

Learn more about partnering with ICIC on our mission to support the growth of businesses in under-resourced communities.


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


PO Box 191297
Roxbury MA 02119
Phone: 617-238-1740
Fax: 617-238-3001

Stay Connected

Sign up for our mailings and stay up-to-date on all research, commentary, and news related to ICIC as we continue to drive inclusive economic prosperity in America’s under-resourced communities.

Sign Up

© 2021 ICIC. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use    Privacy Policy