Capital and Resources for Inner City CEOs

Capital and Resources for Inner City CEOs

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After a successful program year with executive education seminars in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Memphis and Dallas, Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) is now gearing up for its annual conference in New York City.

Bank of America will co-host the conference, which will be held on Nov. 20.  More than 180 urban entrepreneurs will participate to pitch their business. A select few will be given the chance to pitch their businesses before a live audience and panel of capital providers “Shark Tank” style.

As part of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, ICCC connects small business owners to high-profile capital investors. Designed for investment-ready, inner-city businesses, the program provides expert guidance and training by top-tier business school professors. ICCC’s annual networking conference is the culminating program event, where participants put learning into practice and can market and pitch their businesses.

This year’s conference is expected to once again join hundreds of inner city business executives with industry leaders and top-tier capital investors. Since 2005, ICCC participants have raised $1.22 billion in capital for their companies and created 10,729 jobs in their communities.

The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit 2012 Family Business of the Year Award recipient Dental Kidz is a past ICCC pitch participant. Christopher Harvell and his wife, Dr. Lezli Levene Harvell, founded Dental Kidz in 2008 and in 2009 the couple opened a newly constructed 8,000-square-foot pediatric facility equipped with digital X-rays.

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This year’s participating companies come from inner cities across the U. S. and represent a wide range of established and upcoming industries, from health care and real estate, to breweries and aerospace manufacturing. Roughly 79% of the company CEOs are minorities and over one third, 36%, are female, says ICCC director Hyacinth Vassell. The representation of participating minority owned businesses has steadily grown each year, she adds. About 870 inner city companies and 150 capital providers have been selected to participate in the program since 2005.

“Through our partners and host cities, participants are given access to experts and real-world lessons that they can take back to their business,” Vassell says. “With a continued need for capital in America’s inner cities, connecting these entrepreneurs with the tools they need to grow is even more crucial in supporting the development of these vital urban communities.”

“From a company providing comprehensive health care services in Memphis to another developing sustainable housing in Indianapolis, the diversity and caliber of this year’s participants is truly incredible,” notes Ed Powers, ICIC partner and managing director with BAML Capital Access Funds Management, LLC. “As these companies continue to grow, they are creating jobs, investing in new resources, and positively impacting their communities. It is results like these that make us proud to partner closely with ICIC on this invaluable program, connecting inner city entrepreneurs with capital and training opportunities.”

Held over a period of five months, participants attended educational sessions where they received training and coaching on entrepreneurial finance strategy, talent management and brand marketing as well as information on various forms of capital, including angel investments, venture capital, bank debt and lines of credit.

ICCC program participants get to put their learning into action, market their company, and connect with capital providers at the national conference. Non-program participants are also invited to attend and network, discover new businesses, and promote their products in the event’s marketplace showcase. Flash Friday will allow participants who can’t afford the full cost of the event to still learn from others. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on November 14, Flash Friday provides a discount, half price, for participants to attend the conference.

According to program alumnus Braylon Lester of XTRA21 in Dallas, “the program made me think outside the box to understand what investors are looking for.  I came out of the training with a different viewpoint of my business and finances, and the opportunities I have to grow. The knowledge base and experience is second to none.”