Six Brooklyn companies were selected for a program offering urban businesses and entrepreneurs access to growth capital to grow their businesses.
A joint effort of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), Bank of America, Fortune and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the six Brooklyn firms were selected to participate in the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program.
This year the program received a record-setting 5,200 nominations from across the country and selected 178 companies for participation. Especially critical in today’s economic climate, the ICCC identifies inner city businesses in need of growth capital, educates them on the sources of capital, and matches them with capital providers in order to grow their businesses and create jobs.
The six Brooklyn companies are Architectural Grille, GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning, Linda Tool, Polish Bar Brooklyn, The Green Spa and Wellness Center and Tumbador Chocolate.
Each was selected for the program because of its “strong growth potential and commitment to the inner city.” according to Mary Kay Leonard, ICIC president and CEO.
“There is a lack of capital availability in America’s inner cities,” said Leonard, in a published statement. “In fact, 71 percent of inner city businesses have, on average, only a quarter of the capital needed to compete in their industries. For many urban entrepreneurs, ICCC helps open the door to a network of financial options that they had limited or no access to previously.”
The ICCC, co-founded with Bank of America, attempts to educate inner city entrepreneurs by offering web-based training workshops, coaches to help perfect company pitches, a day-long information session on equity and other forms of growth financing, and an innovative one-day event that directly connects them with investors to make pitches and discuss potential opportunities.
The program is free to the selected inner city businesses. To qualify, a business must be located in the inner city (defined as an area of concentrated economic distress) or have a disproportionate percent of its employees residing in such an area. In addition, a company must have $2 million in revenue. The companies selected represent industries like technology, food and beverage, consumer goods and manufacturing.