The plantain shop that grew into a pillar of the Roxbury community

Tropical Foods, located in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, has been in business since 1974. It was founded by Pastor Medina, an immigrant from Cuba, who originally rented a small location and sold only plantains. At the time, plantains were not widely known in the U.S., but the mostly Hispanic clientele who shopped there took to calling the store “El Platanero,” a name some customers still use. However, Tropical Foods has grown considerably since its days as a plantain shop. Learn more

New advocates on the scene to support the Maker Movement

A common misperception about the Maker Movement is that it is limited to crafters and hobbyists with only a narrow impact on local and regional economies. While some makers are indeed hobbyists, the movement also includes many active and nascent entrepreneurs who are interested in commercializing their products. These products can range widely, from jewelry and leather goods, to craft beer and artisanal bread, to drones and mini robots. Learn more.

Milwaukee turns unrest into opportunity for small business owners

In 2016, civil unrest in Milwaukee left a stretch of the Sherman Park neighborhood extensively damaged and economically harmed. Businesses in the area, including BMO Harris Bank, were set on fire, causing over $5.8 million in property damage. Now, the city is making an investment in the same neighborhood to turn it into a place of burgeoning economic opportunity. Learn more.

San Francisco Fed: Workforce development may help boost business formation

From Main Street businesses to technology startups, research has shown the rate of new business formation in the United States has plummeted since the 1970s. In the past year, the Digest has frequently cited research from the Economic Innovation Group (EIG), the Kauffman Foundation, and the Federal Reserve on the impacts of declining dynamism on America’s economic outlook. A recent letter by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco suggests that an often-overlooked aspect of business formation is the availability of labor, and that policies that seek to improve and deepen the labor pool may help increase new business growth. Learn more.

ICIC On the Move

  • National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Convention: ICIC's Allie Padgett and Kelsey Ray represented the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Convention in Las Vegas, NV from August 1-4. ICIC educated conference attendees about the benefits the program has for small business owners and strengthened ICIC's relationship with NGLCC. Learn more.
  • 2017 Global Sustainability Summit: ICIC was honored to present at this year’s conference hosted by the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association in Nashville, TN from August 9-11. As a part of the session, Creating Resilient Cities: Coordinating Government, Businesses and Communities, ICIC’s Kim Zeuli presented our recent research supported by The Rockefeller Foundation on the resilience of urban food systems. Moderated by a representative from the Rockefeller Foundation, the panel also included representatives from a hunger relief organization and the food industry sharing practical perspectives. Learn more.
  • Billion Dollar Roundtable: ICIC’s CEO Steve Grossman was invited to speak at the Billion Dollar Roundtable (BDR) Annual Summit in Oakland, California on August 17. Steve participated in a fireside chat moderated by Beverly Norman-Cooper, Director of National Supplier Diversity at Kaiser Permanente, titled, “Our Future is in Our Cities,” which explored how the Inner City Capital Connections program is contributing to the revitalization of inner cities and their small business ecosystems.
  • Baltimore Open House: ICIC's Kelsey Ray attended an open house for the newly-launched location of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in Baltimore, MD on August 24th. Kelsey gave a presentation to 175 attendees, and had the opportunity to build relationships with prospective applicants while educating them about the program's impact on small businesses.

Announcements & Careers

  • 10,000 Small Businesses in Baltimore: The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program announced a $10 million commitment to Baltimore in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, marking the program's first-ever co-investment. The program provides business owners with the tools and support to take their small business to new heights. Applications for the next class in Baltimore are due on September 12, 2017, with classes scheduled to begin in November 2017. Business owners can apply at If accepted, the program is offered at no cost. To learn more, read the press release here.
  • You're invited to the 2017 Inner City 100 Conference and Awards! Join us in Boston on October 3rd as we recognize America's fastest-growing inner city businesses at the Inner City 100 Conference and Awards. Hear from expert speakers and learn how to make collaboration your next inspiration! Register today. 
  • Join our team: ICIC is hiring at multiple levels! These Boston-based positions provide an opportunity to join a dynamic and professional team working to address important inner city business and economic development issues. View our other open positions.

ICIC is deeply grateful to our Sustaining National Partners for their support of our mission:



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