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100 Fastest-Growing Inner City Businesses

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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, and spotlights the 100 fastest-growing businesses located in America’s inner cities. In 2016, Companies were ranked by revenue growth over the five-year period between 2011 and 2015.

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 2016 were Staples, Chevron, JumpStart, Kaiser Permanente, New York City Department of Small Business Services, and World Business Chicago. This list was audited by the independent accounting firm Rucci, Bardaro, and Falzone, PC.


From a high-tech commercial fishing outlet in Boston to a socially responsible apparel company in Oakland, there’s great variety in the types of businesses thriving in America’s urban centers and creating jobs where they are needed most. Here are this year's 100 fastest-growing inner city companies, as ranked by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC).

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  2. Five-Year Growth Rate (%)
  3. 2015 Revenues ($M)
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Bluewater Plumbing & Heating

Courtesy of Bluewater Plumbing and Heating

The story of Bluewater Plumbing & Heating is a story of the fruits of sweat equity. Current CEO Roger Macaluso founded and built the business from scratch without seeking outside capital. Roger always had a sense he wanted to be a business owner and is continuously energized by the company that thrives today. The business has expanded more than 150% in the past five years and projects an even greater rate of growth in the years to come. Roger attributes this growth to “good people, good process, and a great product.” His inner city location is strategic, as residents of this area create a strong pool of labor, and it offers convenient access to transportation. Today, Bluewater partners with some of the largest construction companies in their market to provide one of our most basic needs.

Company Information

Five-Year Growth Rate (%) 160%
2015 Revenues ($M) $4.04
HQ Location Middle Village, NY
Business Leader(s) Roger Macaluso
Title Founder and CEO

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