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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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  3. 2015 Revenues ($M)
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LEEP Forward

Courtesy of LEEP Forward

Lorell Marin established LEEP Forward, a pediatric clinic, after working in education and early intervention and realizing there was a gap in care for children with special needs between the ages of three and five. Today, LEEP Forward has become a one-stop facility providing speech, occupational, developmental and mental health services for youth from birth to their teen years. Marin says that what sets her clinic apart is its high level of specialization and the continuous training and education her staff members receive. In addition, parents are always included as members of the team and provided special training as well. LEEP Forward will soon be opening two additional facilities, and Marin is taking a cross-country road trip to visit similar clinics in every state to provide trainings to help share knowledge about relationship-based treatment models.

Company Information

Five-Year Growth Rate (%) 1025%
2015 Revenues ($M) $3.60
HQ Location Chicago, IL
Business Leader(s) Lorell Marin
Title Executive Director and Founder

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