CEO’s Letter: Open for Business and Building Resiliency
Nearly 30 years ago, in the wake of the 1992 L.A. Uprising, Dr. Michael Porter founded ICIC as a laboratory for experimentation and innovation. By studying and better understanding the unique challenges faced by this country’s under-resourced urban communities, our explicit aim was to provide small businesses in these underserved ecosystems the resources they needed to grow, create well-paying jobs and improve the quality of life for communities and their residents.
Three decades later, businesses supported by our seven Urban Business Initiatives continue to contend with profound socioeconomic issues that have severely tested their ability to emerge stronger. The global pandemic, inflation, severe workforce limitations, and supply chain issues continually impact small business owners. Yet despite these challenges – and with the support of our growing array of pioneering programs – these entrepreneurs prevailed in 2022 and stayed open for business. We couldn’t be prouder of these heroes whose energy and optimism inspire us daily.
Small business owners across the United States and Canada with whom we were privileged to work this year knew that new strategies were required to deal with the seismic shifts they faced and responded admirably. They stepped out of their comfort zones to innovate, adapt, build resilience, and pivot with impressive results.
Since 2009, our Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program has enabled us to serve over 10,000 small businesses in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Despite the headwinds of the past year, 97% of participants completed the program. Within six months of graduation, 66% increased revenue and 44% hired additional employees. Perhaps most importantly, 67% of these program alumni have mentored other businesses and taken ownership of expanding the footprint of small businesses in their respective cities and regions.
We’re particularly proud that our nearly 6,000 ICCC alumni have had a sustainable impact in building the economies of their respective communities across all 50 states and Canada. Since the program’s inception in 2005, they’ve created 26,000 jobs, generated average revenue growth of 141%, and raised $2.4 billion in debt and equity capital.
When measured alongside the achievements of our annual Inner City 100 award winners, and newer business initiatives including Black in Business, Building for Growth, Cultivate Small Business, and Succession Ready, ICIC continues, with the unwavering support and generosity of our partners for which we’re deeply grateful, to drive inclusive economic prosperity in under-resourced communities through innovative research and programs. Our unique research on small business technical assistance policy and practice extended the reach and impact of our programming by identifying policies that can make those programs, and others like them, more effective in filling critical gaps in the technical assistance landscape.
At ICIC, we get up every morning and ask ourselves two questions: What can we do today and throughout the year to close the racial wealth gap? What can we do today and every day to end concentrated poverty? When life expectancy in the under-resourced communities we serve is in many cases more than 20 years shorter than in more affluent neighborhoods, we know we have so much more to accomplish to achieve this ambitious, essential mission – and we welcome your collaboration and partnership.
Within this report, you’ll read many success stories about businesses of different sizes in a wide variety of industries. While each is unique, all illustrate the power of partnership, the importance of collaboration, and the impact that ICIC has on communities across America.
ICIC’s partners have endured monumental challenges in recent years, and have overcome them. We’re proud to deliver reports about so many fantastic companies that are open for business – and growing.
Steve Grossman, CEO