Kaiser Permanente: New Program to Strengthen Diverse Small Businesses

Nominations open for Inner City Capital Connections, which provides free training, coaching and connection to capital.

Originally Published by Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser Permanente introduced the Portland metro area’s first Inner City Capital Connections program. ICCC is an initiative designed to support small businesses and promote inclusive economic prosperity.

Kaiser Permanente is funding local businesses’ participation in this tuition-free, 40-hour mini-MBA program that combines executive education, webinars, coaching and connection to capital. Starting today, businesses can apply using the online application form, or anyone wishing to nominate a small business can use the online nomination form.

“Economic vitality is a key contributor to good health, yet not everyone has access to the same opportunities,” said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest. “We know life expectancy can differ by as much as 20 years in neighborhoods only about five miles apart from one another, and income is one of the major contributors to that gap in health. In driving small-business growth, ICCC improves not only the health prospects of the business owners and their employees, but of their entire communities.”

ICCC was created by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a national nonprofit research and advisory organization. ICCC has a demonstrated record of success across the country. For example, since 2005, 2,221 ICCC alumni have averaged 160% growth in revenue, created 19,907 jobs, and raised $1.92 billion in capital.

The program starts with an opening seminar taught by professors from leading business schools such as Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Northwestern University. After completing the opening seminar, business owners will continue their learning for three to six months through online training courses and business advising from banking and consulting firms.

The program culminates in a national conference, where ICCC participants can pitch for capital in “kinder, gentler shark tank sessions” and get immediate feedback from a panel of experienced capital providers.

“Access to capital is a key component to economic vitality, and increasing opportunities for underrepresented business owners puts us on a path to economic vitality and economic equity,” said Jarvez Hall, executive director of East Metro Economic Alliance. “Programs like this help to revitalize communities and create growth from the inside, with businesses that hire people in their local communities. The economic multiplier effect is tremendous, and we are not only investing in business, but we are investing in communities.”

Nominations and applications

Program qualifications

A business must meet the following criteria to be eligible for participation in ICCC:

  • Be an independent, for-profit or nonprofit corporation, partnership or proprietorship.
  • Have its headquarters or more than 51% of its physical operations located in an economically distressed area, or have more than 40% of employees residing in an economically distressed area.
  • Be past the survival stage — Initiative for a Competitive Inner City typically works with businesses with annual revenues of at least $500,000.
  • Have been in operation for two years or more, and past the proof-of-concept stage — start-up companies are not eligible for this program.

On a case-by-case basis, ICCC will consider businesses that do not meet all the specified criteria on the recommendation of a nominator.


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