April 24, 2002

U.S. Cities Provide Right Tools for Fast Growing Small Businesses
Mayor Menino Recognized for Inner City Economic Development Leadership

Boston -- Inner cities are home to thousands of the nation's fastest growing small businesses, according to the ICIC-Inc. Magazine Inner City 100, an annual ranking of the nation's fastest growing small businesses released today. Nearly 4300 small businesses in 191 cities were among the nominees. Close to 20 percent of the nominations came from the nation's mayors, including almost half of the winners.

ICIC today also presented Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, its first annual Mayoral Inner City Leadership Award, recognizing Boston's "Back Streets" program for its significant economic impact on inner city neighborhoods. Back Streets supports thousands of small and mid-sized light industrial and commercial businesses that are scattered throughout Boston.

"The intense competition to make it on to this top 100 list - 4300 inner city businesses were nominated - demonstrates the vitality of American cities as places to nurture and grow successful small businesses," said Mayor Menino.

A survey of the top 100 fast growing small businesses in inner cities found strong support for the business climate provided in U.S. cities.

  • 88 percent rate their current inner-city location as a good or excellent place to do business.
  • 61 percent rate their location as better or much better than it was 3-5 years ago.
  • 76 percent have considered expanding or relocating their business - with 100 percent of those planning to remain in an inner-city area.
  • Proximity to transportation, workforce diversity, real estate availability, and local demand for services or products were cited as some of the key advantages for businesses in inner cities.

"The growth of a vibrant business service sector in America's inner cities is significant because it signals a changing perception among entrepreneurs of the viability of the inner cities as a business location," said Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, Founder and Chairman of ICIC. "Moreover, the growth of high-tech companies in urban neighborhoods shows that the inner-city economy is increasingly integrating with the regional economy."

The U.S. Conference of Mayors sponsors an annual report on "metro economies" measuring the size and growth of the nation's regional economies. Last year's report is accessible online at This year's report is due out in June.

"Mayors applaud ICIC and Inc. magazine for recognizing this year's fastest growing inner-city small businesses," said J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director of the Conference, which is an official Inner City 100 partner. "Small business growth and the entrepreneurial leadership of mayors will continue to lead our economy back to a full recovery."

Pittsburgh Mayor Thomas Murphy, Stamford (CT) Mayor Dannel Malloy, and Irvington (NJ) Mayor Sara Bost were among those attending today's events and congratulating participating local small businesses.

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) is a national, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to spark new thinking about the business potential of inner cities, thereby creating jobs and wealth for inner city residents. Their web site is

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today. Each is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. The Conference's web site is

Andy Solomon , (202) 861-6766


©2004 U.S. Conference of Mayors