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100 Fastest-Growing Inner City Businesses

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Methodology

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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9.

State Traditions

Keith Brown and John McElrath began State Traditions in 2007 with $7,000 and a camera they were able to barter for design services, aiming to create an apparel brand that was more relatable than aspirational. This has proven to be a winning formula. Today, their state-inspired clothing and accessories are now sold wholesale to retailers in 41 states and direct to consumers through State Traditions’ website. Through their rapid growth, the company has been firmly rooted in Birmingham, which the co-founders call both a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and a draw for recruiting new staff members.

Company Information

Five-Year Growth Rate (%) 1226%
2015 Revenues ($M) $1.80
HQ Location Birmingham, AL
Business Leader(s) Keith Brown and John McElrath
Title President and CFO (Brown); President and COO (McElrath)

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