Building Up Small Business

Catholic University of America aims program at small businesses in inner cities.

More than 100 small businesses in the Washington, D.C., area participated in the opening of the Inner City Capital Connections program (ICCC), hosted this fall by the Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business and Economics. The school is launching ICCC in partnership with Boston’s Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a national program designed to help small businesses in distressed areas build capacity for sustainable growth.

Workshops held at the Catholic University in September covered topics such as strategy, marketing, finance, human capital, and culture. Among the presenters was Harvard University’s Michael Porter, the founder and chairman of ICIC.

In November, participants will regroup in New York for a two-day capital matching conference, where they will attend webinars and be matched with mentors.

So far, approximately 70 percent of the businesses that have participated in ICCC are owned by minorities, and 40 percent are owned by women. The businesses represent more than ten different industries and have annual revenues of greater than US$3 million.

One business owner who is participating in ICCC is Al Goldberg, founder of Mess Hall, which provides up-and-coming food entrepreneurs with commercial kitchens and related services in D.C. As he looks to grow his business, he says, the concept of an “‘MBA on steroids’ is exactly what I need.”

Since 2005, alumni of the ICIC have seen an average of 184 percent growth in revenue, created in excess of 12,000 jobs, and raised more than $1.4 billion in capital.

Watch Al Goldberg describe his experience at ICCC.