Press Release

March 24, 2000

Tony Iallonardo
(202) 293-7330

Mayors to Honor Top 100 Inner City Entrepreneurs

WASHINGTON, DC -- On April 5, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Earvin "Magic" Johnson will lead U. S. Mayors in announcing the winners of the Inner City 100, an award that recognizes fast growing private companies thriving in America's inner cities. The list is a one-of-a-kind project undertaken by The U.S. Conference of Mayors, Inc. magazine, and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) to spotlight entrepreneurs who have tapped into the untapped markets of the nation's core urban areas.

The winners will be announced by Mayors at a press conference scheduled for April 5, 2000 at 4:00 PM at the Boston Mariott Copley. The press conference will be followed by a gala reception and dinner that will honor the winners and present the National Inner City Leadership Award to Johnson.

In calling for nominations for the award last year at the USCM Fall Leadership Meeting, Conference President and Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said, "Inner cities are filled with success stories. We are going to uncover and salute successful companies who are leveraging the competitive assets that inner cities have to offer."

"The Inner City 100 companies are not only successful businesses, but also powerful engines for job growth and wealth creation in America's distressed urban areas, in large part because they have tapped into the competitive advantages of their locations," stated Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of ICIC. "The Inner City 100 are leading the economic rebirth taking place in America's inner cities."

Last year's inaugural Inner City 100 had average 1997 sales of $14 million, average annual compound growth rate of 44% since 1993, and created close to 5,000 new jobs over the last five years. The Inner City 100 companies cite their inner-city location as a growing advantage.

"For many, 'inner-city business' connotes bodegas, fast food chains, and check cashers. The inaugural Inner City 100 shattered those misperceptions, revealing that the inner city is home to strong growth companies," stated George Gendron, Editor-in-Chief of Inc.

Nominees are ranked based on the percentage of increase in the companies' gross revenues between 1994 and 1998 and must meet the following criteria:

  • For-profit corporation, partnership or proprietorship (division or subsidiary)
  • Headquartered in the inner city (economically distressed urban area) or have 51% or more of physical operations in inner-city areas
  • Employ 10 or more employees at year-end 1998
  • Have a five year operating sales history that includes:
  • sales revenue from 1994 through 1998
  • an increase in 1998 sales over 1997 sales
  • sales of at least $1 million in 1998
  • Cannot be a holding company, regulated bank or utility
The Inner City 100 will be published in the May 2000 issue of Inc. magazine. Other media outlets are encouraged to publish stories on the awards that will pre-date the release of the May issue of Inc. magazine.

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City ( is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in June 1994 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter, following several years of pioneering research on inner-city business and economic development. ICIC's mission is to spark new thinking about the business potential of inner cities, thereby creating jobs and wealth for inner-city residents.

Inc. is the leading magazine written for the men and women who own and manage small-to-midsized, fast-growing companies. Published 18 times a year, Inc. helps its 2.2 million readers by providing expert advice and practical solutions as they face the opportunities, pitfalls, and rewards of growing a company. Inc. Online (, the Web site for growing companies, was named Best Online Magazine by Folio and Best Overall New Publication (all media) by the Computer Press Association.

The United States Conference of Mayors ( is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.