Boston, MA, Feb. 05, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) proudly unveils its 2023 Impact Report highlighting the inspiring journeys, achievements, and resilience of entrepreneurs in underserved communities across North America.
The entrepreneurs ICIC helps are often located in under-resourced communities facing high rates of poverty and unemployment, with limited access to crucial resources for small business growth. In 2023 alone, ICIC served more than 3,000 businesses in 56 states, territories, and Canadian provinces. Of these businesses 72% percent were BIPOC-owned and 68% percent were woman-owned. ICIC’s work, as detailed in the report, goes beyond mere assistance. It’s about nurturing a community of entrepreneurs who draw wisdom from their experiences, leading to self-development and expansion. The report emphasizes the critical role small business owners play in driving economic growth and job creation, particularly in underserved communities.
Ten entrepreneurs, who overcame significant obstacles, are highlighted in the impact report, showcasing their tenacity and relentless pursuit of success, including:
- Liseth Velez of LJV Development, a BIPOC-, woman-, and veteran-owned construction company based in Everett, Massachusetts;
- Brian Krusz, a former U.S. Marine who owns Sgt. Clean Car Wash, a chain of car washes in Uniontown, Ohio;
- Mayra Kahn, a serial entrepreneur whose most recent venture, Teamficient, is providing remote office solutions to businesses in the Chicago, Illinois area;
- Lawrence Charles, the CEO of Charles & Company, a BIPOC-owned organic and kosher tea brewing company in Long Beach, California;
- Diseiye Thompson, a fashion designer based in Toronto, Canada, and founder of BIPOC-, woman-, and LGBTQ+-owned DISÉIYE;
- Oscar Zepeda, CEO of Real Zepeda Tequila, a craft tequila business based in Boston, Massachusetts;
- Beth Nodland, founder of Juniper Environmental, a woman-owned environmental contracting firm in Bismarck, North Dakota;
- Former U.S. Army officer Lalini Pillay, CEO of LE Global, a woman- and veteran-owned construction company based in Washington, D.C.;
- Kei-Che Randall, a deaf artist, educator, and innovator providing enrichment opportunities for deaf/hard of hearing students through STEPS by Kei-che, her BIPOC-, woman-, and disability-owned business based in Cedar Falls, Iowa;
- Carmen Brown and Ken Harris of neMarc Professional Services, Inc., offering top quality administrative and clerical staff to government, education, and business sectors from their headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee.
Liseth Velez, Founder & CEO of LJV Development, exemplifies the kind of success story ICIC aims to replicate across the board. As a veteran, a woman, and a person of color, her journey speaks volumes about the potential and resilience within these communities.
“In the grand scheme of things, every small business owner plays a crucial role in fostering economic growth and creating jobs. ICIC has been instrumental in giving me access to opportunities that I might not have had otherwise. This support has been vital in my journey as an entrepreneur. Being part of ICIC has immersed me in a vibrant community of entrepreneurs. This network has not only given me access to new opportunities but also a sense of belonging and shared purpose. We’re not just building businesses; we’re collectively enhancing economic growth and job creation in our communities.” shared Liseth Velez.
Steve Grossman, CEO of ICIC, commented: “This Impact Report not only reaffirms our commitment to serving the needs of business owners within our underserved communities but also highlights our dedication to thought leadership in the field. Through extensive research and collaboration, we continually strive to stay at the forefront of industry trends and innovative solutions. From providing access to capital and creating jobs to promoting wellness outcomes, addressing poverty, and fostering a robust network, our collective impact resonates.”
The Impact Report delves into how ICIC’s programs have guided entrepreneurs like Velez through various stages of their business lifecycle, providing invaluable mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities. It captures the essence of entrepreneurial resilience – the ability to overcome hurdles and seize opportunities, a theme that resonates throughout the document.
The 2023 Impact Report is more than just a collection of success stories. It is a powerful statement on the transformative role of ICIC in nurturing and empowering entrepreneurs, thereby contributing significantly to the economic fabric of our society.
Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) is the widely-recognized authority on accelerating small business growth in under-resourced communities. Founded by renowned Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter 30 years ago as a research and strategy organization, today ICIC drives inclusive economic prosperity in underserved communities through innovative research and programs to create jobs, income, and wealth for local residents.
CONTACT: Sarah Ginand ICIC +1 617-803-4532 [email protected]
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