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Founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, ICIC is a national nonprofit organization and the leading authority on U.S. inner city economies and the businesses that thrive there. ICIC’s mission is to drive economic prosperity in America’s inner cities through private sector investment to create jobs, income and wealth for local residents. In addition to a Research and Advisory practice, ICIC has several Urban Business Initiatives (UBIs), which include the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program. For more information, visit icic.org.
ICIC has created the Small Business Resource Center: COVID-19 Crisis, which hosts a wide range of national and local resources aimed at supporting small businesses during the pandemic. This site is frequently being updated as we become aware of initiatives to mitigate unexpected financial losses. If you know of resources that aren’t listed on the SBRC, please email ICIC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ICCC program has adapted its curriculum to prioritize business recovery strategies and capital relief solutions. We have also offered the Opening Seminar as a virtual two-day seminar series to better serve the small business community. In addition, we have lessened our program criteria to make ICCC more accessible to small business owners in need.
No. The program content is designed to help established businesses grow, and so companies are required to be past the proof-of-concept stage . We will refer start-ups to other local resources more aligned to their needs, and encourage them to apply in subsequent years.
CAN NONPROFITS PARTICIPATE? HOW DOES THE PROGRAM APPLY TO THEM?
Yes! We invite nonprofits and social enterprises to apply. Traditionally, nonprofits with a fee-based model or for-profit activities have gained the most from the program. Nonetheless, any interested nonprofit is encouraged to apply.
CAN WE NOMINATE SOMEONE WITHOUT RECEIVING AN AFFIRMATIVE EXPRESSION OF INTEREST?
Yes. We strongly recommend you inform the business owner they have been nominated, so they are aware of the program when we follow up. If a business owner expresses interest to you, encourage them to apply, and we will follow up. If they respond that they are not interested, let us know, and we will cease communication.
CAN I NOMINATE MYSELF?
Yes. You can skip that step and apply directly at apply.iccapitalconnections.org.
WHAT ARE THE GEOGRAPHIC REQUIREMENTS? WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW IF A BUSINESS FALLS WITHIN THE ACCEPTED GEOGRAPHY?
We use multiple definitions when qualifying businesses. We work with businesses in economically-distressed areas, inner cities, low-to-moderate income areas, and/or businesses that employ a significant portion of their workforce from these areas. If you are unsure as to whether a business is geographically qualified, nominate them and we will determine if they qualify. We can also pre-qualify your nominees’ addresses in advance so you can nominate only those who qualify.
WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW IF A BUSINESS OWNER IS MAKING AT LEAST $500,00 IN ANNUAL REVENUE?
We ask this question in the application, so you can still nominate a business owner even if you don’t know their revenue. In the past, we have accepted business owners with less than $500,000 in annual revenue because they had a strong growth mindset, were on track to scale up, or were highly recommended by the nominator.
Specific topics include marketing strategy, talent management, entrepreneurial finance, negotiation and persuasion, and presentation skills. Participants leave with actionable strategies for measuring growth, creating harmony between employees and customers, and building a team that supports business goals. While the topics are refreshed frequently to reflect current business trends, the program content is consistently designed to help businesses build capacity and achieve sustainable growth.
If your business is not actively seeking capital, you can still benefit from current teachings on strategic planning, talent management, and marketing and sales tactics, and unique networking opportunities. Your business will benefit from a new perspective on sustainable growth, regardless of whether or not you choose to seek capital after the program.
Absolutely! Many of our alumni are credentialed and experienced business owners and still choose to complete the program more than once! While the curriculum maintains a focus on sustainable growth and accessing capital, we review the content each year to ensure it reflects the most current business trends and thought. In addition, the valuable coaching, critiquing and networking opportunities that are focused on accessing capital are unique to ICCC.
We’re proud to offer a program with several distinguishing aspects:
We measure the program’s success and impact by the average revenue growth, number of jobs created, and the total capital raised.From 2005-2018, 2,894 ICCC alumni have averaged 120% growth in revenue, created 21,390 jobs, and raised $2.23 billion in capital. As our alumni succeed, we promote sustainable business growth in underserved communities across the country.