Program Update

Inner City Alumni Network

The Inner City Alumni Network (ICAN), provides continuing education and networking opportunities for our more than 6,000 ICIC program alumni. At the beginning of 2022, Kwanza Johnson joined ICIC as our Alumni Affairs Coordinator, and under her leadership, ICIC launched the first three local ICAN chapters in Boston, Chicago, and Washington D.C. with on-site events. Each event had a significant buzz and we look forward to building on all the momentum generated this year. We anticipate launching three additional chapters in 2023 and plan to host two in-person events for each chapter on an annual basis.

2022 Impact Snapshot: Inner City Alumni Network


New Local Chapters Launched in 2022: 3 (Boston, Chicago, and DC)


Total chapters launched by end of 2023 (anticipated)


ICAN members who donated to ICIC


Amount donated to ICIC by ICAN members


ICAN members who donated to ICIC

ICAN Ambassador Spotlight

“I’ve always had a huge passion for networking.  I’ve been a huge fan of ICIC over the years, and so many businesses in my network have gone through and benefited from ICIC programming. When ICIC’s ICAN Director Kwanza Johnson, reached out to me to be an Ambassador of the ICAN Chicago Chapter, I couldn’t have been more thrilled to sign on. The Chicago Chapter held its first in-person event in August, and it was a huge success! There is a hunger for these businesses to connect, learn from each other and explore new business opportunities.  I look forward to the continuing success of this program.”



“As an ICIC Alum and nominating partner, I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the launch of the Washington, DC Chapter of ICAN. Our first event was dynamite, and it was a great opportunity to reunite with my fellow participants and see many of the businesses that I have nominated to ICIC over the years. I’m looking forward to continuing to serve as an ICAN DC Ambassador and helping businesses network and gain ongoing educational opportunities they need to continue to make their businesses survive and thrive.”



Being at the forefront of building the ICAN Boston Chapter has been both rewarding and inspiring. Any chance to reconnect with my contacts and friends in the community, as well as my fellow ICIC peers is always a valuable experience! Given the demand on my childcare facility and time, working with Kwanza, to bring the kick-off to fruition proved to be worthwhile as numerous business owners were able to attend, network and engage with the chapter. Some attendees even joined as Boston Ambassadors after seeing for themselves what ICAN has to offer! If you’re in the Greater Boston area, I encourage you to join our chapter and upcoming events in 2023.”



Inner City Alumni Network (ICAN) Advisory Board

Comprised of successful small business owners that have participated in one of our Urban Business Initiatives, the ICAN Advisory Board offers innovative advice and dynamic perspectives in the strategy and implementation of the Inner City Alumni Network.

ICAN and its advisory board members provide a foundation of support for current and future small businesses that participate in ICIC programs, helping to drive inclusive economic prosperity in North America’s under-resourced communities.

This diverse group of leaders provides insights that help ICIC refine its alumni engagement strategy in order to meet the most urgent needs of the communities we serve. Their expertise and thought leadership play an integral role in providing alumni with robust resources and networking events and building a strong system of support among the small business owners we serve.

ICAN Advisory Board Spotlight: Dianne Austin

Dianne Austin, B.S. is the CEO and co-founder of the startup, Coils to Locs, a direct-to-hospital distributor of high-quality coily, curly hair prostheses (wigs) for Black women or any woman with highly textured hair. Coils to Locs is at the forefront of addressing an unrecognized healthcare disparity that impacts Black women experiencing chemotherapy-related hair loss – the lack of coily, curly wigs that are available at cancer centers in the U.S. that can be purchased with health insurance reimbursement.

Dianne has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Emerson College and completed one year of a two-year Master’s program in Human Resources Management at Boston University before being diagnosed with cancer in 2015. She holds an administrative fellow certificate from Harvard University as well as a certificate in entrepreneurship from Babson College’s, Black Women Entrepreneurial Leadership program, (BWEL).

A six-year breast cancer survivor and thriver, Dianne is passionate about healthcare equity issues given her personal experiences and that of family and friends within the healthcare system. She is always seeking opportunities to be involved in community engagement activities that provide a patient care perspective through the lens of a Black woman navigating the healthcare system.

In addition to Dianne serving on the ICAN Advisory Board, she is also highly involved as an ICAN Boston Chapter Ambassador and delivered the ICAN Induction Speech for the 2022 ICIC Annual Conference.

Comprised of successful small business owners who have participated in one of our Urban Business Initiatives, the ICAN Advisory Board offers innovative advice and dynamic perspectives in the strategy and implementation of the Inner City Alumni Network (ICAN).

ICAN Advisory Board

Dianne Austin
Coils to Locs, Boston, MA
ICCC Western MA 2020

Terri Evans
Rylon’s Smokehouse, Chicago, IL
ICCC Chicago 2019 and 2021; 10,000 Small Businesses Chicago 2020

Sam Gude
Gude Management Group, Atlanta, GA
ICCC Atlanta 2013, ICCC Birmingham 2015, Building for Growth Advisory Board Member

Janice Jucker
Three Brothers Bakery, Houston, TX
ICCC Dallas 2015, 2016, and 2017; IC100 2015 and 2016; 10,000 Small Businesses Houston 2012, Founding ICAN Advisory Board Member

Sion Tesone
IC100 2020 and 2021

Wei Wang
UrbanTech Engineering, New York, NY
ICCC Philadelphia 2018 and 2020; IC100 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020; 10,000 Small Businesses New York City 2015