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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 2017, Companies were ranked by revenue growth over the five-year period between 2012 and 2016.

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 2017 were Staples, Chevron, FedEx, Kaiser Permanente, City of Oakland, Baltimore Development Corporation, Blackstone Entrepreneur’s Network, Urban League of Louisiana, World Business Chicago, Team JXN, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City. This list was audited by the independent accounting firm Rucci, Bardaro, and Falzone, PC.

From an organic candy shop in Oakland, Calif. to a towing company based in Texas, there is a wide swath 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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Ocho Candy

Courtesy of Ocho Candy

Seeing a market opportunity for an organic candy bar, Denis Ring committed to making products that were delicious, organic, affordable, and fun. Denis wanted to democratize the organic confectionary market by making it easy for anyone to buy organic candy and feel good about it. Fast forward seven years, and Ocho Candy is one of the fastest-growing confection companies in North America. Two years ago, OCHO invested in a unique, high-tech European production line that increased capacity significantly. The company now sells organic products at major national grocery stores like Whole Foods, Kroger, Stop and Shop, Costco, and Star Market. Located in inner-city Oakland, Ocho Candy hires locally to support the community and is committed to staying in the neighborhood.

Company Information

Five-Year Growth Rate (%) 3041.83%
2016 Revenues ($M) $4.81
HQ Location Oakland, Calif.
Business Leader(s) Denis Ring
Title Founder

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