Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and FORTUNE recently announced a group of 100 businesses selected for the 2014 Inner City 100, a list of the fastest-growing inner city businesses in the U.S. According to ICIC research, businesses located in inner cities experience unique competitive advantages, as they create three times more new jobs for inner city residents in comparison to businesses located in other parts of the region.
While this program has a16-year history, 2014 was the first year that the Inner City 100 was comprised of 10 fast-growing businesses segmented into 10 industry categories. The 10 winners within each category were ranked according to revenue growth both as it compared to their industry peers, as well as to all other businesses on the list.
This year's winners included Gourmet Gorilla, an industrial kitchen launched by husband and wife pair Jason Weedon and Danielle Hziric in 2009 to fulfill their shared aspirations to bring healthier meals to Chicago-area public schools. Gourmet Gorilla plays a significant role in the health and education of the greater Chicago community, and nearly 50% of their business comes from low-income districts. Danielle and Jason's efforts to encourage healthy eating in schools have led to positive results benefitting both the company's mission and its bottom line. Since their founding year, company revenues have skyrocketed at a gross growth rate of 1251%, earning Gourmet Gorilla the top spot on the Food & Beverage top ten list, and a third place spot overall on the 2014 Inner City 100 list. Danielle also participated in the inaugural Chicago class of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses Program.
In advance of Thursday's awards ceremony celebrating all winners, Jason and Danielle attended a two-day small business Symposium hosted by ICIC, which assembled CEOs from almost 250 companies across the country. This event included high profile business management case studies presented by Harvard Business School professors, peer-to-peer learning sessions led by CEOs of fast-growing firms, and even a reunion gathering specifically orchestrated for 10,000 Small Businesses alumni from across the country.
Graduates of 10,000 Small Businesses are represented on nine out of the 10 business industry categories on the 2014 Inner City 100. The training and skills these 14 business owners have each gained also led to actionable results. The average gross growth rate of winners connected to the 10,000 Small Businesses program between 2009 and 2013 was an impressive 365%, as compared to a 336% average gross growth rate for all 100 winners in the same time period.
10,000 Small Businesses alumni featured in the 2014 Inner City 100 created 320 new jobs within the last five years, 242 of which were within the local community. Of these 14 companies, all who pursued options for access to capital in 2013 were successful, and on the whole the group of 14 generated $57.9 million in 2013 revenues in the aggregate, $4.1 million on average.
The rankings of the 14 2014 Inner City 100 winners who were also were 10,000 Small Businesses Alumni is as follows: (See the full Inner City 100 list in FORTUNE.)
Gourmet Gorilla (Chicago, IL)
Food & Beverage Industry, #1
Lumen 21 (Orange, CA)
Software & Information Technology Industry, #2
Sentiments, Inc. ( Commerce, CA)
Manufacturing Industry, #4
American Floors & Interiors (Toledo, OH)
Construction Industry, #1
Walsh Electrical Contracting, Inc. (Staten Island, NY)
Construction Industry, #8
Fabrication Group (Cleveland, OH)
Manufacturing Industry, #9
Décor Interior Design, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA)
Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation Industry, #2
Rodriguez Consulting (Philadelphia, PA)
Professional Services Industry, #7
Printfresh (Philadelphia, PA)
Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation Industry, #5
Westcoast Trucking Inc. (Compton, CA)
Transportation & Logistics Industry, #6
QCS Logistics (New Orleans, LA)
Transportation & Logistics Industry, #7
Capelli's Gentleman Barbershop (Seattle, WA)
Retail Industry, #8
Gulfgate Animal Hospital (Houston, TX)
Healthcare & Biotechnology Industry, #8
Edibles Rex (Detroit, MI)
Food & Beverage Industry, #9