2016 Inner City 100 Conference & Awards

Accelerating Success: The Road from Here

The 2016 Inner City 100 Conference and Awards took place on September 14th at the Aloft Hotel in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood, after kicking off with a welcome reception at, “Boston’s home for innovation,” District Hall.This year’s event focused on helping participants consider next steps beyond the growth they have already achieved as business . Through case studies on Tesla and Ideo led by Harvard Business School professors, learning how to take a about company public, and hearing long-term success stories from Staples CEO, Shira Goodman, attendees gained inspiration and ideas to help propel them forward.

The Inner City 100 2016 Honorees

Click here to view the 2016 Inner City 100 rankings, growth rates, and revenues on Fortune Magazine.

Each year ICIC collects nominations for, and then identifies, the 100 fastest-growing inner city businesses. Led by entrepreneurs from across the country, these businesses create jobs where they are needed most and contribute to growing innovation in urban areas. These winners are revealed at the annual Inner City 100 Conference and Awards event, which draws hundreds of business leaders from across the country to network, celebrate the year’s fastest growing companies, and learn from each other. The annual list is also published in FORTUNE magazine.

2016 special recognitions and honors

ICIC inducted 15 businesses into the Inner City 100 Hall of Fame, which honors businesses who have made the list five or more times. One Hall of Famer, Raining Rose of Cedar Rapids, IA, made the Inner City 100 list for the tenth time, an achievement only one other firm in the program’s history has earned. Read Fortune’s take on this impressive company.

Martha de la Torre, Founder and CEO of El Clasificado, was honored during the lunch program with the 2016 Marcia Lamb Inner City Innovation Award, which recognizes visionaries leading change in urban economic development.

Special recognition was also presented to Detroit’s MeritHall, who won the Chevron Dorothy A. Terrell Community Impact Award, which highlights companies that have a significant impact on their communities through quality job creation and civic engagement. Atlanta’s Caduceus, who topped the Inner City 100 list, also won the Staples Business Growth award for being the fastest growing business.

Agenda, Keynotes and Speakers

Expert speakers gave attendees the opportunity to discuss topics including growth through technology, “scaling with soul”, and shared value, as well as analyze cases on Tesla and IDEO. Check out the list of inspiring business leaders, academics, and journalists who spoke at the 2016 event:

Lynda M. Applegate


Lynda Applegate, Sarofim-Rock Professor of Business Administration Chair, OPM, Harvard Business School


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Brook Colangelo, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


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Amy Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School




Loren Feldman, Senior Editor, Forbes


16-267 Executive Photos_Shira Goodman_8x10 MED



Shira Goodman, CEO, Staples


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Michael E. Porter, University Professor, Harvard Business School




John Stuart, Divisional Vice President, TPG Sales & Partners


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Corey Thomas, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rapid 7  


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Nina Vaca, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pinnacle Group


Creative Photo Expressions



Robert L. Wallace, CEO/Founder, BITHENERGY

Robert L. Wallace is an accomplished engineer, entrepreneur, author, business consultant and internationally-known keynote speaker. He is the founder of three companies – BITHGROUP Technologies, Inc., BITHENERGY, Inc., and EntreTeach Learning Systems, LLC. BITHGROUP Technologies, Inc. is a successful information technology services company that specializes in managed security services, health information systems, infrastructure IT services, wireless engineering, and biometrics. BITHENERGY, Inc. is a dynamic energy engineering and management company that develops and implements energy management, energy efficiency, and renewable energy solutions for government and commercial clients. Mr. Wallace also founded EntreTeach Learning Systems, LLC, through which he conducts economic and entrepreneurial research and has authored five best selling books that provide solutions for addressing the unique challenges facing small, emerging, women-owned, and minority-owned companies. His ground breaking research through has provided the foundation for his entrepreneurial training programs that have benefited entrepreneurs throughout world.

Mr. Wallace graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Engineering, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. It was at Pennsylvania where he began his foundational research on innovative emerging energy technologies. He earned his Masters of Business Administration from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and was awarded a Doctorate of Humane letter from Sojourner Douglas College. Prior to starting his own companies, he worked for IBM, DuPont, Procter & Gamble, and Westinghouse. He was a highly sought after advisor for numerous business executives and political leaders. He was recently chosen by the Mayor of Baltimore City to lead the newly-created Mayor’s Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. He has served as Chairperson for the State of Maryland Information Technology Board (ITB), the Governor’s Advanced Technology Commission, Small Business Task Force, Minority Business Task Force, and the BRAC Commission. He currently co-chairs the Commerce and Infrastructure Committee for the Maryland/Liberia Sister City Agreement, Maryland’s first sister city agreement with an African nation and is an Affiliate Professor of Business at the Sellinger School of Business, Loyola University, where he lectures on the power and promise of innovation in the global economy.

Mr. Wallace is a committed and passionate business and community leader who generously gives of his time and resources to uplift humanity. He has helped fund major humanitarian projects around the world and unselfishly serves on numerous private and civic boards. Some of these boards include Advisory Board for Credit Suisse Bank, the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board, the Kennedy Krieger Institute, the Maryland Economic Development Commission, the President’s Roundtable, and the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council. Robert’s dedication and passion has caused him to be greatly celebrated. His most recent honors include:

  • 2016 Small Business Associations “District Director’s Unsung Hero Award”
  • National Technical Association “Joseph Tyler Award”
  • Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce “Hall of Fame”
  • MBE Magazines “MBE Who Rocks”
  • Capital Region Minority Supplier Diversity Council ”Leaders & Legends Chairman Award”

He is also a prolific author who reaches a host of readers and viewers throughout the world via diverse and social media outlets. He has authored numerous articles and books on entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, strategic alliances, wealth creation strategies and urban economic development. His published works include:

  • Black Wealth Through Black Entrepreneurship (Duncan & Duncan, 1993),
  • Black Wealth: Your Road to Small Business Success (John Wiley & Sons, 2000),
  • Soul Food: 52 Principles of Entrepreneurial Success (Perseus Books, 2000),
  • Strategic Alliances: An Entrepreneur’s Guide To Joint Ventures And Alliances (Dearborn Publishers, Fall 2004),
  • The Ssese Principles: Guidelines for Creating Wealth through Faith (AuthorHouse, spring 2005).
  • The Color of a Billion: Women and Minorities Who Are Building Billion Dollar Enterprises (forthcoming)
  • Green Gold: Building Wealth in the Green Industry through Alliances and Partnerships (forthcoming)
  • CRASH: Business Lessons from the Emerging World (forthcoming)

Robert’s blending of the theoretical aspects of entrepreneurial success – success profiling and success modeling – with the practical day-to-day wisdom of starting and building actual businesses, helps make him a true global, renaissance entrepreneur.






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