The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), founded by Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter in 1994, defines inner cities as core urban areas with higher unemployment and poverty rates and lower median incomes than their surrounding metropolitan statistical areas. Every year, ICIC identifies, ranks, andspotlights the 100 fastest-growing businesses located in America’s inner cities. In 2015, companies were ranked by revenue growth over the five-year period between 2010 and 2014.
ICIC relies on a national network of nominating partners, including city offices, economic development organizations, and small business development corporations, to find many of the businesses that appear on this list. Key partners in 2015 were Staples, Chevron, City of Oakland, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation,JumpStart, and World Business Chicago. This list was audited by the independent accounting firm Rucci, Bardaro, and Falzone, PC.