Program Update

Inner City Capital Connections

ICIC’s signature program, Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC), was launched in 2005 with a founding grant from Bank of America to assist small- and medium-sized businesses in under-resourced communities build capacity for sustainable long-term revenue growth, profitability, and local job creation.

ICCC has grown dramatically over the past 17 program years, with the 40-hour, “mini-MBA program” providing more than 5,800 small business owners with tuition-free capacity-building education, one-on-one coaching, and connections to capital and capital providers. More than 10% of those 5,800 small business owners have participated in ICCC multiple times to maximize their growth potential.

Read more about the impact of Inner City Capital Connections »

Photo by Paige Brown Photography

Learn more about the ICCC program »

Impact to Date

Since 2005, the Inner City Capital Connections alumni have been making lasting contributions to the small business ecosystem and their communities.

All alumni achievements (2005 – 2022)


Jobs created


Revenue growth


Total capital raised

2022 Impact Snapshot: Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC)

2022 marked a year of reemergence for ICCC as the program returned to two in-person cohorts in Houston and Indianapolis (the first time since 2019), and returned to St. Louis and Dallas after a brief hiatus. In addition, the ICCC program expanded to two Canadian cohorts and launched its first-ever Latinx cohort conducted entirely in Spanish, paving the way for increased language equity and access to non-native English-speaking entrepreneurs. In total, ICCC offered 22 cohorts in 2022, training 865 entrepreneurs across the U.S. and Canada. We are profoundly grateful to new and sustaining partners who have enabled us to expand and serve the changing needs of small businesses since the pandemic.

ICCC deepened its capacity-building offerings in 2022 by hosting the first-ever Procurement Summit, a three-day virtual seminar that covered tools and strategies to empower entrepreneurs to break into as well as expand within the government and corporate contracting spaces. The Summit closed with a Procurement Showcase, where supplier diversity managers met with ICCC participants and alumni to share insights into contracting opportunities with their organizations.

In addition, as part of the inaugural ICCC-Pizza Hut Equal Slice Program, ICCC awarded five $20,000 grants to Canadian participants designed to help them accelerate their business growth, marking the first time the ICCC program provided direct capital and grants to participants. For most of the competing businesses, this was their first time preparing a business deck and pitching for funding!

As small business owners in under-resourced communities and neighborhoods fully re-open for business and encounter evolving challenges, ICCC remains committed to providing them with relevant programming, actionable strategies, and access to resources to support them through their growth trajectory.

Photo courtesy of ICCC Houston alumni SUPERGirls SHINE Foundation.

Snapshot of 2022 ICCC Participants


Number of businesses served


BIPOC-owned/led Businesses


Woman-owned/led Businesses


Average revenues


Average age of businesses
(in years)


Average number of full time employees

Alumni Spotlight

“Let me start by saying it was never my intention to open a school,” says Barbara Chavous-Pennock, CEO of Somerset Academy Early Learning Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Opening with this statement, she’s about to tell an incredible journey of never giving up and of always persevering—not even for herself, but for the larger picture of those she so eagerly wanted to help.

“We had so many obstacles and if it were not for the grace of God, there’s no way possible we would still be here, she shares.”
Read full article »



Cooking is in Benjamin Smith’s blood. Following in the footsteps of his father, he spent many years working in restaurants and hotels, but it was the opportunity to help rebuild the community he loves that helped him find his life’s passion.

“We had prostitution, drug activity, a lot of gangs,” Benjamin says of the Milwaukee neighborhood where he opened his first restaurant in 2014. “People were asking me, ‘Why do you want to come into this neighborhood?’ People don’t want to do something new or challenging. But I wanted to bring my type of food and our brand into that area, regardless of what was going on. Before we knew it, we started getting students, police officers, and business people coming in. Once they saw our brand, they forgot where they were at. That started building the area.”
Read full article »