News. Events. Ideas. People.
Gearing up for the Inner City 100: A Preview of Winners
(avg: 2.50 of 5)
Photo: Specialized Therapy Services of Amarillo
When entrepreneurs decide where to locate their companies, many overlook inner cities. This is somewhat surprising, given the assets located in inner cities: access to infrastructure, untapped markets, a diverse workforce and business-to-business clusters are only a few of the reasons Inner City 100 winners have found success. There's also the myriad governmental programs offering incentives to locate within the inner city.
These facts were not lost on CSI, an 8(a) certified, American Indian owned, HUBZone certified Small Disadvanted Business. CSI topped the Inner CIty 100 - a compilation of the 100 fastest-growing inner city businesses - last year for it's year-over-year booming sales. It's no wonder the company finds itself on the 2012 Inner City 100 list this year, too.
Located within the Brick District of inner city Oklahoma City, CSI is an IT and engineering contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense. CSI employs an estimated 60 to 80 inner city Native Americans and boasts a 98% retention rate. Over the last five years, CSI has created 210 jobs, which ranks fifth among 2012 Inner City 100 winners in this category. The company was also ranked as the top firm on the 2011 Inner City 100. To foster entrepreneurship, CEO Ken Novotny mentors a lot of small, up-and-coming firms and offers one key piece of advice to business owners: Always be a strong leader and have confidence in yourself and your team.
What other types of companies landed on the Inner City 100 this year? Here's a preview of a few. Where they fall within the 100 ranking is still a secret! Be sure to tune in on May 9th to find out who takes the coveted spot!
Sunset Healthcare, located in downtown Chicago, is a company that sells post-respiratory medical products, such as those addressing home oxygen and sleep apnea needs. Co-founder Chris Slosar worked for a competitor for five years and discovered a niche on which he could capitalize: using an internal sales team to build relationships with customers. Sunset hires great people and its talented internal sales team differentiates the company from its competitors, most of which outsource sales. Sunset’s customers are home medical equipment suppliers across the globe and they've grown from just the founders initially to a staff of 25 today. Sunset Healthcare is proud of its location and enjoys easy access to Chicago’s great public transportation system. Since moving to its current location in 2006, the company has seen tremendous improvements in the surrounding community – and it likes to take credit for some of that.
Specialized Therapy Services of Amarillo provides physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy to special needs children. The company was started by CEO Karen Day, a speech pathologist, after she was laid off from another company. Day, an entrepreneur with no business experience, was able to obtain advice from a local entrepreneur who taught her how to launch her own operation and put the company in a strong position for growth. In an effort to give back, STS is highly involved in with the local Down Syndrome Guild and other causes that help children with disabilities.
Gourmet Guru of the Bronx, NY is an organic food manufacturer and distributor that focuses on natural and perishable foods. In fact, Gourmet Guru was the first American distributor of Greek yogurt. Gourmet Guru has helped a lot of organic food startups to get up and running and has been helped by them in return. With a mission to make the world a better place to eat, CEO Jeff Lichtenstein has turned this values-centric Bronx company into a high-growth success.
BY Mary Duggan on April 6th, 2012
Trending Topicsworkforce development workforce what works urban revitalization small business shared value nyc manufacturing jobs inner city economic summit industrial ic100 housing food entrepreneur economic development detroit community development clusters cities capital business boston ask the expert anchors
FOR OUR MONTHLY INNER CITY INSIGHTS.
- CEOs for Cities
- SBA's Open for Business
- Opportunity Nation
- Living Cities
- Urban Institute's MetroTrends
- Atlantic Cities
- The Knight Foundation
- The Kresge Foundation
- Core Change Cincy
- Business Civic Leadership Center
- The Urbanophile
- Next City
- City Journal
- Rust Wire