Scroll down to learn how we did it in 2012
2012 was another exciting year for ICA. Our model evolved, expanded, and adapted in order to remain relevant to the needs of local small businesses. Meanwhile our vision -- to create an economy that works for all -- remains steadfast. We have also learned many lessons.
First, we realized that creating jobs for jobs sake is not enough. That is why we have implemented quality standards and moved our work towards the creation of “good” jobs that meet the basic needs of all people. For us, good jobs mean that employers pay well, build employee wealth, offer medical coverage and create career ladder opportunities for their workers. You will see this evolution exemplified in Katie Booser’s story about her climb through the ranks, building a career at Blue Bottle Coffee Company. This and other stories in this Impact Report demonstrate our vision of the kinds of jobs we must create. People with good jobs are the catalyst for increased economic activity, thriving neighborhoods, improved health, and better education.
Second, we know that neighborhoods and communities are vastly changing, so creating jobs in the “inner city” is no longer enough. What we hold true now, more than ever, is that we must look at the socioeconomic status of the employees accessing the jobs created by ICA companies. That is, who is benefitting from the job creation among ICA companies. We have answered this question by beginning to partner with high-performing workforce development agencies to ensure that we are creating ladders of opportunity for the people with the highest barriers to employment: people who were formerly incarcerated, are veterans, are aged-out foster youth, learning English as a second language or have low educational attainment levels. In the end, our goal is to create a symbiotic relationship between the businesses we serve, its employees and their surrounding community. For us, this is a better way of doing business and a better way to tackle the unemployment challenge and other social challenges of our time.
Three years after the officially declared end of the recession, the jobs crisis continues. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 11,742,000 working age Americans who are officially unemployed and 89,967,000 working age Americans who are “not in the labor force.” If that wasn't bad enough, the percentage of working-age adults in the labor force fell to 63.3 percent last month. It's the lowest such figure since May 1979.
We simply cannot continue down this path.
Third, we are learning that we cannot arrive to large-scale, systemic change on our own. Today, we know that ICA's model is working...in the Bay Area. To that end, taking the advice of my 3-year-old son, “Sharing is Caring,” we have centered our efforts to scale our model on our ability to share it with others. More and more entrepreneurs and small businesses locally, regionally and nationally are buying into the ICA model. We are paving an alternate path and taking a new angle on small business growth and good job creation. Economic cooperation is the way forward, and we are building it from the bottom up. We invite you to share this model in other communities.
Finally, we are extremely excited about enhancing the ICA mission and accelerating our path towards an equitable society, by leveraging our new small business capital investment partner, Fund Good Jobs. Together, ICA and Fund Good Jobs will expand a rich diversity of entrepreneurship, and maximizing the growth returns of good jobs.
We still need to do more. There are nearly 200,000 small businesses currently operating in the San Francisco Bay Area. Imagine the impact we would have if we helped each one create one good job this year. It can be done, but we will need you to take action with us.
We want to thank our Board of Directors, Advisors, professional services providers, funders, partners and, most importantly, the small businesses for helping move our mission forward. Thank you for your support -- we look forward to building on our relationships.
It is with great humility and honor that we announce to you the launch of Fund Good Jobs, an innovative new approach to small business capital investments. We fund good jobs by building strong businesses that then invest in people with the greatest need and create the conditions for everyone to build wealth in our community. Through ICA, we have earned the credibility of small business through our ability to help them grow. Along the way, we learned that lack of access to the right kind of capital was, and continues to be, the biggest barrier to their growth.
In addressing the capital gaps, Fund Good Jobs will lead a new way of leveraging capital to support business growth, and more importantly, maximize job creation. Our unique approach to investing is built on delivering a tailored form of blended capital in the range of $100K to $2M that includes equity, senior debt, subordinated debt, and convertible debt with creative structures and collaboration with capital providers throughout the Bay Area. Alongside each investment, we will partner with ICA to provide hands-on support that minimizes overhead and directly impacts the bottom line.
Building on ICA's innovative impact tracking indicators for small business growth and good jobs creation, we seek to not only create a brand of good jobs but ensure good jobs results. Good job creation is central to our value proposition and we will hold ourselves accountable to this metric in all that we do.
I am taking on the roles or President and Managing Director of Fund Good Jobs with the utmost gratitude and a great sense of responsibility. Like all of us at ICA, I was attracted to the heart and soul of ICA entrepreneurs, our advisors, and an ecosystem committed to good job creation. We bet on people and take care of each other for a higher goal – that’s our mission and that’s why I'm here.
It’s been seven years since I was first introduced to ICA. I connected immediately with the people behind the work, and most importantly, ICA's leader, Jose Corona, whose belief in mission buy-in and true commitment convinced me to go “All In”. In the end, ICA is our greatest partner at Fund Good Jobs and we are both clear that one entity cannot be successful without the other. We are embarking on this path together.
As we move forward, we want to recognize that we could not have gotten here without the help of many expert advisors. There are too many to mention in this letter, but please be assured that you will hear more about them in the months to come.
As a community, we must transparently address what indicators truly build wealth and what’s needed to maximize good job creation. To this end, creating good jobs is not as simple as creating economic activity. We must all broaden our perspectives and continue to focus on doing what's best for the businesses – we must be willing to be different. For us, that means boldly leading the mission of creating good jobs
Today, we already have more need for capital in the ICA portfolio than we can deploy. So our objectives for 2013 are very clear: (1) secure additional philanthropic funds to maximize good job creation, (2) smartly and swiftly deploy capital to high growth small businesses throughout the Bay Area, and (3) build a philanthropic brand around Good Jobs. To make this happen we need your support now, more than ever. Please join our cause and Fund Good Jobs today.
With the utmost sincerity,
ICA creates good jobs for people with high barriers to employment by providing small business owners with expert consulting, education & investment to grow their businesses.
The ICA Entrepreneurship Institute gives small business owners practical, action-oriented knowledge to lead, stabilize and grow their business to success, plus the opportunity to network with and learn from other entrepreneurs.
Our hands-on engagement with small business owners leverages the expertise of ICA's internal management consultants along with a council of proven entrepreneurs, experienced executives and industry experts. Together, we provide pro bono strategic advice to Portfolio Companies in 8 essential focus areas of their businesses, built on the8factors.com framework.
Fund Good Jobs (FGJ) is our partner entity that provides high need, high growth small businesses the capital they need to scale up and maximize good job creation. FGJ bets on good job creators with tailored investments in the form of blended capital ranging from $100K to $2M. Each investment will be made in partnership with ICA’s suite of services and will offer entrepreneurs a one-stop shop for their capital needs.
We know from experience that entrepreneurs spend so much time working IN their businesses, they lack time to work ON their businesses. ICA's quality services discipline is designed to provide the support and discipline necessary to think strategically and tactically with a long-term view. ICA's consulting staff members are skilled with entrepreneurial business management expertise, and we supplement our in-house services with high-caliber, volunteer Advisors who share their industry-specific insight to help ICA companies grow.
To address the capital gaps, ICA's partner investment vehicle, Fund Good Jobs, Inc., leads a unique approach to investing, built on delivering a tailored form of blended capital in the range of $100K to $2M. Financial products include equity, senior debt, subordinated debt, and convertible debt with creative structures and collaboration with capital providers throughout the Bay Area. Alongside each investment, ICA provides hands-on support that minimizes overhead and directly impacts the bottom line.
Social capital is critical to the growth of any business and ICA's ecosystem is our greatest asset. It brings like-minded entrepreneurs, advisors, investors, corporate partners and small businesses together to deliver high quality services and valuable resources for all members of our network.
Through our business network, ICA is able to provide a variety of resources to Portfolio Companies and other small business owners that add great value to businesses. Professional Service Providers (PSP) offer pro-bono or substantially reduced rate value-add services to ICA Portfolio Companies when the need is beyond the scope of what ICA Staff and Portfolio Advisors can provide.
Whereas before we used the "inner city" geography as an indicator to identify who to create good jobs for, we've learned that we must look instead at peoples' socioeconomic status. So we've begun to partner with high-performing workforce development agencies to ensure that we are creating life ladders of opportunity for the people with the highest barriers to employment: people who were formerly incarcerated, veterans, aged-out foster youth, learning English as a second language or have low educational attainment levels. This is a better way of serving the people most in need.
"The ICA way" of delivering quality services starts with 3 C's: competence, compassion, commitment. We take a "hands-on" approach by building tailor-made work plans that meet the entrepreneur where they are. We're a mission-first team of people, driven by a healthy obsession for delivering results. We believe that urgency wins championships and love to leave it all on the field for entrepreneurs.
Ultimately, impact matters most to us because our mission is not complete until we make one economy work for everybody.
Whether you are starting a business or trying to grow a business, The 8 Factors Business Framework is the most powerful business management tool available for today's entrepreneurs and small business owners. The 8 Factors distills the best content from business books, MBA theory, and personal experience into a practical and powerfully simple business framework to help people running or starting a business.
Get all the business knowledge you want, without making the huge time and money commitment you don't. The strategic advice that ICA provides to our Portfolio Companies is even built on the8factors.com framework. Every Spring ICA hosts our annual Business Growth Strategy Series, featuring the 8 Factors, and we encourage you to contact us if you're interested in attending next year's series.
We know that entrepreneurs need more capital, but they could also use support to review the financials documents they are preparing to access capital, identify where on the path they are, and get actionable feedback to help them accelerate their success to secure funding.
Banks and other capital providers speak a specific language, and we teach entrepreneurs how to communicate it. Learn more and apply: http://www.innercityadvisors.org/path
Increasing the sales of a business hinges upon a compelling value proposition, delivering on the promises you make and carefully managing customer expectations. Many companies want to improve the way they express their brand without spending cash they may not have.
ICA has designed a practical process to assess how a company's brand is currently being experienced, as well as simple, actionable ways to amplify that experience for an entrepreneur's key customers. Learn more and apply: http://www.innercityadvisors.org/path
People with good jobs are the catalyst for increased economic activity, safer neighborhoods, improved health, and better education. We create good jobs to build the capabilities of those with the greatest need and create the conditions for everyone to thrive. When people earn higher wages, they have the capability to invest in their own neighborhoods. ICA's model is working effectively on this front, and these numbers tell a powerful story for how to build strong communities.
Good jobs provide good pay, benefits and life ladders of opportunity. We believe that economies work best when everyone can participate and prosper, because people with good jobs are the catalyst to transform neighborhoods.
The average salary paid by ICA portfolio companies
Average hourly wage in the ICA portfolio
of ICA portfolio companies offer Health and Dental insurance.
ICA partner companies offer Health and Dental.
Other benefits offered include: English language classes, commuter checks, 401(k), gym membership, life insurance, and paid volunteer time.
of ICA companies are owned by women.
of ICA companies are owned by people of color.
of ICA portfolio companies hired workers with barriers to employment.
It costs ICA $320 to create and retain one good job
We're doing our part to increase livable wages that move people from subsistence, to bigger savings accounts to building long-term assets.
Increased revenue makes job creation possible. ICA’s services help entrepreneurs cut costs, improve margins and increase their cash on hand.
Every $1 of usable cash donations yields $87 in local wages
All impact data collected via Mission ProfitTM Impact Tracking.
Providing good jobs is critical. Good jobs inspire workers to give everything they've got for the company's mission. ICA's metrics for job quality—1) good pay 2) benefits and 3) life ladders—speaks to the needs of workers in growing businesses. Creating an environment where people feel heard, challenged and rewarded is directly tied to a business's scalability.
Katie Booser, the Chief Operating Officer for ICA Portfolio Company Blue Bottle Coffee Co., climbed the ranks within the company after starting as a Barista at their Hayes Valley kiosk and managing a wholesale account at the San Francisco Ferry Building. From the start, she seized any and all opportunities to maximize her productivity. Katie saw things that needed to be done and did them: writing opening and closing duties, cleaning up the farmer's market booth, delivering beans, sweeping–whatever needed to happen. Early on, James Freeman, Blue Bottle’s founder, recognized Katie's instinct to take initiative, as well as her interpersonal relationship skills with people. As Blue Bottle was quickly expanding its business, James saw the need to grow his workforce and made a deal with Katie to hire her as Retail Manager after she graduated college.
Now as Chief Operating Officer, Katie oversees all customer facing points in the company, including retail, wholesale, communications, HR, administrative roles, collaborating with the chief production officer and the rest of the executive team.
ICA has been able to support Katie and Blue Bottle’s growth from the early stages of development. Early on, ICA assisted Blue Bottle in getting the financing that the business needed to scale. More recently, we’ve provided the tools to set them up for success, which include developing a growth strategy for their New York City retail expansion, coaching leaders and training managers and employees.
We know that small businesses often don’t have resources or formal structures to do effective leadership training, so ICA provided them to Blue Bottle in order to give Katie the space to step back and recognize her leadership skills. We connected Katie to Gary Weatherford, operations and team development expert.
"I'm more confident, able to focus more on what really needs to get done, more organized and able to advocate for what I need better. In turn, what's happened is we are making decisions faster than we used to as a result of the work we've been doing with ICA."
- katie booser, coo, blue bottle coffee co.
Gary led the coaching process, identifying key topics for professional growth, teaching lessons, and instilling confidence in Katie to be a leader. Simultaneously, Nina Robinson, ICA’s Portfolio Manager, led from the ICA side enabling Katie to see herself as a leader. This training gave Katie real tools to improve her preparation for meetings, long term planning and forecasting, assessing financial statements, and identifying regularly scheduled reports to help navigate the growing business.
Gary’s retail expertise was also instrumental to supporting the company's national expansion. Gary worked closely with Katie to develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), strategies to reach those benchmarks for success, and ways to control their costs.
ICA gives entrepreneurs and their staff the tools needed to accel from employees to managers, to the next generation of leaders, recognizing that small, fast-growing companies have a hard time accessing key resources to help them scale up. Now, Katie is training new managers and employees to carry her lessons forward, and it is this lasting impact on people that will pay dividends for the success of the team and the business.
We believe that our shared value around good job creation instills a larger cultural understanding of the driving mission of ICA, FGJ, and our Portfolio Companies. Blue Bottle Coffee embodies this core value.
Ed Support Services - Oakland, CA
Early last year ICA was excited to announce the addition of Ed Support Services (ESS) to the Portfolio. ESS provides education and behavior services to people with disabilities. As a professional service provider that serves a social need, ESS decided to build an entire framework around their core value of “Putting People First.” They developed this framework using their expertise in Applied Behavior Analysis, a science that involves using modern behavioral learning theory to modify behaviors. In essence, co-founders, Tanya Scott and Meredith Akers, applied the same set of skills they use in helping children and families, to running their business.
Tanya & Meredith decided to invest time and money in articulating this framework internally to all members of their organization. Here are some of the ways it’s paying off:
This values-based approach is especially vital, considering the scale and pace at which ESS is growing. Last year their revenue increased by 40%, they added key members to their executive team — including a director of operations and director of clinical services — and expanded into early intervention diagnosis, a new market of service.
In anticipation of their growth, ICA’s Portfolio Manager Nina Robinson, COO Sean Murphy, and ICA Advisors worked closely with Tanya and Meredith to position them for success by preparing them for outside capital, vetting lenders, negotiating terms and teaching them to understand what their current and future needs. ICA was then able to connect them with one of their capital partners, New Resource Bank, a socially responsible financial institution. ICA’s advisors guided ESS through every step of the process to secure financing so that they could focus on what they’re good at. Michael C. Bush, a high-caliber ICA Advisor, has played a critical role providing strategic counsel to ESS so they can identify how they want to grow, manage a balanced rate of growth and understand how that affects cash flow.
"Meredith and I are so grateful to have you in our lives, providing us with such valuable guidance and advice. It is mind blowing to think where we and Ed Support Services would be (or wouldn't be) without ICA's support."
- tanya scott, co-founder, ed support services
By investing in these great, mission-driven entrepreneurs, their business can not only scale to create more good jobs, but it enables them people with special needs to reach their full potential. This boils down to people investing in people, and when we lead with the mission, more people get to improve their quality of life.
Juniper Ridge makes natural aromatherapy products entirely from sustainably-sourced wild plants. An ICA Portfolio Company since 2010, Juniper Ridge worked closely with ICA Advisors Lisa Griffin and Anne French to improve their marketing strategy, operations efficiency, inventory management, staffing and forecasting. With a clear passion for his product and a strong commitment to creating good jobs for local residents, Juniper Ridge founder Hall Newbegin truly embraces our mission and exemplifies the type of entrepreneur we love working with.
El Porteño - San Francisco, CA
Joseph and Teresa Ahearne, Co-Founders of ICA Portfolio Company El Porteño Empanadas, are great leaders who continuously find ways to invest in their staff.
They value workers who demonstrate character, aptitude, openness and emotional investment in the progress of their business. Embodying ICA’s core belief in Career Ladders, they believe in bringing people in at entry level, setting clear expectations for growth and creating opportunities for employees to develop professionally with the company. Above all, they find huge satisfaction in giving opportunities to people who otherwise wouldn't have them, and want to provide good jobs that encourage people to look forward. As Joey says, "Happy employees make happy products."
Fernando Blanco, the company's Kitchen Manager, embodies the company culture in the way he creates learning opportunities for the staff, and builds authentic relationships with each team member on and off the clock.
Take Elmer Reyes, the inventory clerk for the company, who began working without being able to speak much English, without owning a smartphone, and without much computer literacy. Elmer expressed to Fernando early on that he wanted to learn, and together they realized that teaching Elmer new skills would not only help him grow, it would strengthen his ability to do more for the company. Now Elmer is sending and receiving orders from his smartphone, and plans to grow into a shipping and receiving position.
Or take Cody Bouscaren, who handles order fulfillment and HR for the company. Cody started working at the farmer's market, grew his knowledge base and got promoted to coordinate orders, scheduling, HR, collective actions, and quality control, with his own desk in the office. Fernando even traveled to Cody's house to help fix his computer. By taking the time to teach employees new skills, Fernando makes the staff feel valued by improving their individual skills and involving them in resolving the company's challenges.
And there are always new challenges to solve.
Every entrepreneur will tell you about the difficulties transitioning from operating in the business to operating on the business. In other words, there’s limited time to step back and think strategically about where to take the business and how to get there. ICA is very attuned to this battle, and we’ve helped Joey and Teresa assess how their business is running today, identify barriers to scale and improve specific components before they can seize all the growth opportunities in front of them.
We’ve brought in David Shenson, the President of Just Desserts, Inc. to be the lead Advisor. David brings combined expertise about the meat industry and the baked goods industry — making the perfect operational and strategic match for an empanadas business. David and Nina Robinson, ICA’s Portfolio Manager, spent the first set of advising sessions pinpointing which areas of the business were working well, and which areas could improve. Then they got tactical, with David facilitating powerful introductions and providing El Porteño with industry-specific advice around scaling manufacturing, cost-reduction, and developing management. Together, they’re now in the process of implementing strategic recommendations, and have already created four new jobs since joining the ICA Portfolio.
These examples demonstrate El Porteño's alignment to the ICA and Fund Good Jobs (FGJ) mission, and because of their commitment, we go all in to help accelerate their growth.
As an ICA Advisor to Juniper Ridge since 2011, Frank Tsai worked extensively with founder, Hall Newbegin, to help improve the financial and business of the ICA portfolio company. His work focused on analyzing how Juniper Ridge's costing was being carried out and offering suggestions for improved pricing strategies for specific products. Furthermore, Frank felt that educating the company's founders to better track their costs was key. By providing advice on how to improve the efficiency and timeliness of monitoring their data, Juniper Ridge has a better understanding of its true margins and the benefits of longer production runs.
"It is rewarding to work with ICA entrepreneurs because they uniformly are seeking best practices and are eager to adopt them."
- frank tsai, ica advisor
Juniper Ridge has always emphasized quality of life, good pay and benefits — but the difference now is that they have the money to really make it all work, and it's happening as a direct result of the ICA's help. Juniper Ridge started working with ICA two years ago, and since then their staff has grown by 70%. Not only are they creating jobs, but they're creating higher and higher quality jobs. This includes warehouse and manufacturing positions with rates starting at $18 an hour and competitive salaried positions, along with Kaiser Benefits for all employees, 100% covered by Juniper Ridge.
At ICA and Fund Good Jobs (FGJ), we pride ourselves on knowing that entrepreneurs aren't the only ones who emerge from advising sessions with newfound value. In Frank's words, "I enjoy helping entrepreneurs that are eager for advice. I enjoy their energy and it revitalizes me to see such passion about producing good and sustainable products."
Frank Tsai is Partner for FLG Partners, LLC, providing strategic and operational financial consulting to non-profit organizations, public and private companies in the areas typically the responsibility of a CFO.
Anne French, like Frank Tsai, is an ICA Advisor to Juniper Ridge. At the time of their introduction, founders Hall Newbegin and Laura Boles had just recently launched a suite of personal care products. This new product line was so unique that Juniper Ridge had essentially created a new market. The success of the new product line brought Hall and Laura face-to-face with the challenges of any successful, growing business–keeping up with the high demands of the market.
Recognizing their needs, Anne focused her work on improving their marketing strategy and operational systems while scaling their human resources. In collaboration with Lisa Griffin, another high-caliber ICA Advisor, Anne helped Juniper Ridge prioritize projects with the biggest impact on the business, figure out what its internal process and human resource needs were, and put the plan in place to support all of this.
These advising sessions have had a great effect on the trajectory of Juniper Ridge’s business growth. In Hall’s words:
"ICA has completely transformed our business and our lives. We've always had great products, but we were struggling with inefficient and inconsistent manufacturing, loose operations, project management, messy books, etc. ICA marched in, immediately identified our weak points (which were many), and matched us up with advisors who took us in hand and taught us how to do it right."
- Hall Newbegin, Co-Founder, Juniper Ridge
"The joy of working with ICA companies is that these are the special gems you root for."
- anne french, ica advisor
As with all advisor-entrepreneur partnerships, it’s our goal to have both parties walk away from the engagement with new insights. Anne says there's nothing like the experience of coaching others to help you realize how to transform your own thinking and practices. Moreover, there's a personal satisfaction from working with mission-oriented people who are dedicated to improving our communities and driving triple bottom-line results. In Anne’s words, "It is exciting to be able to work right along side entrepreneurial teams who value what you contribute and bring you in as part of the family. And it is very rewarding to work on opportunities that disrupt that status quo."
Anne French is a Senior Marketing Executive with a proven record for increasing sales and profit performance across a broad range of businesses, including Procter & Gamble, Foote, Cone & Belding, and Intuit.
As our award-winning Professional Service Provider to ICA Portfolio Companies Prather Ranch, Juniper Ridge, and Back to the Roots, Keith Goldman provides high-caliber consulting based on an outstanding financial forecasting model that has yielded powerful results for these businesses. Entrepreneurs often do not have time to properly forecast their financials, let alone to build a customized forecasting model for management to meet the current and future needs of their growing business.
We believe there is a more effective way to support entrepreneurs. So, in partnership with Keith, we’ve developed a customized forecasting model, pre-populated with company historical financials provided to the entrepreneur for ongoing management. This tool not only gives an entrepreneur more control over their business, but also highlights the collective support ICA and FGJ provides entrepreneurs. It centralizes our strategic advice, hands-on management, and tailored capital in a very detailed and useful way.
"You can find plenty of forecast models and templates out there for small businesses, but they are ultimately not as helpful for entrepreneurs because they aren’t used as an active tool for managing cash and making real-time decisions to manage growth. We’re now able to streamline strategic advice, hands-on management, and tailor capital needs for every company we invest in, plus better support entrepreneurs who are constantly seeking a proactive way to 'block and tackle' as they grow."
- Sean Murphy, COO, ICA and President & Managing Director, FGJ
The results have enabled Prather Ranch to do precise scenario planning and see exactly how the decisions they make will impact the business, with easy ways to manipulate triggers and update numbers as Prather's business evolves:
With Keith’s forecasting model, Doug Stonebreaker, the Founder of Prather Ranch, was able to identify inefficiencies around billing wholesale customers, and by implementing new accounting policies and procedures, he was able to strengthen their cash position and bankability. With the new insights gained from the forecasting model, and through collaboration with additional ICA Advisors, consultants and Fund Good Jobs (FGJ) in a unified effort, Prather was able to strengthen its balance sheet, improve its debt to equity ratio, and secure a line of credit to help it scale.
Keith's work exemplifies the critical partnership of ICA and FGJ. FGJ becomes a one-stop shop as we partner with banks to bridge the capital gap and strengthen a company's position with traditional lenders. By presenting our entrepreneurs with a sophisticated, tailored tool at a fraction of the market cost, we look forward to the ways it will help our entrepreneurs accelerate their business growth.
Keith Goldman is the Principal of KWG Consulting, LLC, a full-service consulting group providing expert financial forecasting and energy efficiency financing to companies of all sizes in a wide variety of industries.
283 4th St., Ste. 101 Oakland, CA 94607
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