Press Release

September 23, 1999 at 8:00am

Deirdre M. Coyle
Telephone: 617/292-2646

Wanted: ONE HUNDRED Fast-Growing Inner-City Companies for
THE ICIC – Inc. Magazine SECOND ANNUAL Inner City 100 LIST

U.S. Conference of Mayors Calls for Nominations

Denver—the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), Inc. magazine and the U. S. Conference of Mayors are calling for entries for the second annual Inner City 100, an award which recognizes fast-growing private companies located in America’s inner cities. The Inner City 100 are leaders in the economic revitalization of America’s cities. Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, Founder, Chairman and CEO of ICIC and Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, made the announcement at the Mayors and Business Leadership Summit of the US Conference of Mayors in Denver. Porter was in Denver to address the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Executive Committee and Business Council on the topic of "Competitive Advantages of the Inner City."

"The ICIC – Inc. Magazine Inner City 100 is the most ambitious project ever undertaken to uncover successful companies in every American inner city," said Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter, Founder, Chairman and CEO of ICIC. "The 1999 list revealed a wide array of rapidly growing urban businesses that are succeeding because of their inner city location, not in spite of it. The Inner City 100 companies are capitalizing on the competitive advantages of inner city and defining new strategies around customer service and distribution, employee recruitment and retention, and products and services for domestic emerging markets. The Inner City 100 are leading the economic rebirth taking place in America’s inner cities."

The 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. magazine. "The goal for the 2000 Inner City 100 is to significantly increase the number of the applicants to be even more representative of the powerful entrepreneurial vitality of America’s inner cities."

"One of the priorities I have established for my tenure as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors is promoting the "Competitive Assets of Cities"," said Webb. "The Inner City 100 is a wonderful vehicle to highlight successful companies and to demonstrate the great strides that cities have made over the past few years. I urge every mayor to find their inner city champions and nominate them for this prestigious list."

The City of Denver has already nominated 5 companies for the 2000 list and to date over 30 cities have submitted close to 100 nominations including, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and San Francisco.

As one 1999 Inner City 100 winner stated, "Frankly, we hope that our competitors never catch on to the value of the assets which exist in the inner city, The talented pool of people and the access to the infrastructure of transportation create a set of resources that are unmatchable any place else." -- Chet Pipkin, CEO of Belkin Components, the 25th company on the inaugural Inner City 100.

Applicants will be 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

Applications and nominations are due by November 8, 1999. The Inner City 100 will be published in the May 2000 issue of Inc. magazine. The winners will be honored at the Inner-City Entrepreneurship Dinner on April 5, 2000 in Boston.

For information on applying, contact Inner City 100 by phone (888-346-4547), fax (617/292-7506), or email ( Or visit the web sites or