Resources for Inner City CEOs
Capital, know-how and the tools to succeed
ICIC has complied a list of online resources for the key drivers of inner city business growth: access to capital, business advisory services, management education and procurement.
Access to Capital
Even the fastest-growing businesses face the challenge between balancing between cash flow and growing the company. In fact, 71% of inner city businesses are dramatically undercapitalized, having on average only a quarter of the capital needed to compete in their industries. The following resources help address the challenges urban businesses face when trying to access growth capital:
- The CDFI Program helps entrepreneurs by providing loans and financial services in communities that lack them. CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions) use Federal funds to invest in businesses or real estate, make consumer loans and provide other financial and technical assistance. CDFIs often use their government funding as leverage to obtain matching funds from other sources.
- Community Development Venture Capital (CDVC) funds are mission-driven organizations that support economically distressed areas in both the US and around the world. CDVC funds seek market-rate financial returns by investing in companies at different stages to create good jobs, wealth and entrepreneurial capacity.
- Growth Opportunity Loans & Services (GOLS) Initiative was developed by Seedco Financial and is part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. This unique financing and business assistance program provides affordable financing, strategic mentoring and business support to select small businesses in New York City. Participants in the GOLS Initiative can access to resources from Seedco Financial as well as through a strategic partnership with the William J. Clinton Foundation’s Economic Opportunity (CEO) Initiative.
- The National Development Council (NDC) Grow America Fund offers financing to growing businesses across the nation. The GAF is a community development lender and supports the creation of jobs and the expansion of small businesses, particularly minority- and woman-owned businesses, in underserved areas. For small businesses, GAF lending is more suitable than conventional financing, providing larger loans with smaller down payments, lower interest rates and longer repayment schedules.
- The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program offers a generous tax credit to individuals and corporates investing in low-income communities. The credit totals 39% of the original investment amount and is claimed over a period of seven years. Investors are permitted to take the tax credit on their Federal return in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial institutions called Community Development Entities (CDEs).
- The New York Times Small Business Guide publishes relevant and news and resource-based articles for small business owners. A recent article by Ian Mount, "When Banks Won't Lend, There Are Alternatives, Through Often Expensive," outlined small business financing options beyond the traditional bank loan. The article included how the finaning options work, who typically uses them and what the financing options ultimately cost a business.
- Pacific Community Ventures supports small businesses to create jobs and economic opportunity in vulnerable, low-income communities. PCV invests resources and provides training assistance through a network of volunteer business executive, industry experts professional services providers.
- Seedco Financial is a national not-for-profit organization working to stimulate economic development in areas that are underserved by traditional banking institutions. Seedco impacts community economic development by providing affordable capital, hands-on business assistance and innovative solutions to small businesses, not-for-profit organizations and real estate developers.
- SJF Institute is a nonprofit organization that helps sustainable small businesses by providing technical assistance and access to investors. SJF has an affiliated venture capital fund focused on high-growth companies with revenues of $1 million to $20 million seeking equity capital of $1 million to $5 million.
- The US Small Business Administration (SBA), an independent agency of the Federal government, provides financial assistance programs for small businesses. While SBA does not loan money directly, it can help growing businesses facilitate a loan with a third-party lender, guarantee a bond or find a venture capital.
- The US SBA 7(a) Loan Program is the largest government-backed loan program for entrepreneurs. The SBA does not make loans; rather, it guarantees a portion of loans traditional lenders make to small businesses they might otherwise perceive as too risky. The 7(a) loan program can help finance up to $5 million, which can be used to buy a business, for long-term working capital or to purchase equipment.
Business Advisory Services
Growing businesses often look to the advice and guidance of an outside expert to help guide their next steps forward.The following public and private organizations provide guidance and advising to small businesses looking to improve their value proposition or expand into new markets:
- Clinton Economic Opportunity (CEO) Entrepreneur Mentoring Program connects successful business mentors with entrepreneurs from high-growth companies in underserved areas. EMP facilitates one-on-one meetings, entrepreneurial workshops and networking events. Over the course of 12 months, small business owners fulfill professional goals via their mentor-mentee relationship with the leaders of some of the fastest-growing companies in America.
- HubSpot On-demand Marketing Resources are a collection of marketing tools that help small businesses generate online traffic and leads. HubSpot tools include internet marketing webinars, Ebooks, podcasts and videos offering instructions on marketing topics ranging from blogging and press releases to lead generation and search engine optimization.
- Next Street, a merchant bank for the urban enterprise, offers customized advisory services and financing solutions for growing businesses and nonprofit organizations. Next Street helps urban companies transform their communities with business strategy, financial advisory, organizational development and full-service marketing and advertising.
- SCORE mentors offer valuable business counseling to start-up and existing small companies. The SCORE network consists of more than 13,000 retired and active executives who provide free, confidential business advice to entrepreneurs and small business owners across the nation. Each SCORE mentor offers specific mentoring skills and/or industry experience and is available for face-to-face or email meetings.
- Angel Capital Association is the trade association of leading angel investment groups in North America. ACA does not provide capital, nor does it connect business owners with angel investors. What ACA does do is help small business owners understand how angel investing works and whether or not such capital is right for their business. ACA lists member angel groups by location and offers helpful websites, articles and books
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide free, confidential business consulting services to current and prospective small business owners. With locations in each of the 50 states, Washington, DC and US territories, SBDCs assist needy businesses with everything from marketing and production consulting to engineering and feasibility studies.
- US Chamber of Commerce Small Business Nation brings together America’s small businesses for an open exchange of information and ideas. The Small Business Nation’s free online toolkits and discussion boards help business owners with issues of finance and marketing, government contracts, insurance and more.
Modern Fire & Security Systems, Grand Rapids, MI
Terrell Daniels, CEO, Modern Fire & Security Systems
SUSTAINING NATIONAL PARTNER
Staples is one of the leading providers of office solutions and is committed to the development of small businesses. The company not only offers an easy shopping experience, but is also a place to learn about the newest technology like tablets and how small businesses succeed in a modern world. Get the facts from the experts at Staples for all of your office needs.