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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.

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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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85.

Gelfand Partners Architects

Courtesy of Gelfand Partners Architects

The growth of Gelfand Partners Architects serves as an example of how business success can be compatible with strongly-held ideals and values. The full-service architecture firm designs schools, community centers, affordable housing, and other buildings that provide tangible benefits to their communities; their latest customer segment is mission-driven private businesses. Gelfand Partners, a certified B Corporation, has a strong commitment to sustainability, and its President, Lisa Gelfand, says that the firm’s inner city location allows most of her employees to walk, bike, or take public transit to work. As her firm grows, Gelfand hopes to continue to partner with and provide services to more fellow B Corporations.

Company Information

Five-Year Growth Rate (%) 139%
2015 Revenues ($M) $11.70
HQ Location San Francisco, CA
Business Leader(s) Lisa Gelfand
Title President

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