Program Offers Effective Support During Difficult Economic Environment for Small Businesses

New York (PRESS RELEASE – November 20, 2009) – The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) is proud to announce that it has selected eleven New York area companies out of a record number of nominations for inner city companies to participate in its annual Inner City Capital Connections program. Especially critical in today’s economic climate, ICCC identifies inner city businesses in need of growth capital and matches them with private equity investors.

The eleven New York companies selected include:

· Sinu helps small businesses and non-profits create and maintain efficient information technology systems.

· GM printing offer solutions for graphic design and full-color products, including books, magazines, catalogs, brochures, stationery, business cards, direct mail marketing materials and customized printed products.

· Fox Travel and Tours is a full-service travel agency providing air, rail, car, cruise and hotel bookings for leisure or business travel.

· Sweetriot is an activist candy company that sources and produces cacaco in Latin America. The company also uses recycled and reusable packing featuring emerging artists for its products.

· Baptiste Group is an emerging print magazine targeted to the African American community.

· New York Amsterdam News is one of New York’s largest and most influential black-owned newspapers and businesses; the company was established in 1909.

· HarlemVintage, Nectar Wine Bar is a Harlem-based wine bar providing a wide-range of wines and services, including tastings, classes and pairings.

· Sandbox Pack and Ship provides international shipping solutions for on-line businesses.

· Harlem Lanes is a sports entertainment complex that provides options for the entire family, including 24 state-of-the-art bowling lanes, mini arcade, café, sports party and VIP lounge.

· Spoonbread, Inc. is a full-service catering and events company serving Fortune 500 clients, New York establishments and individual clients.

· Hue-Man Bookstore is the largest and best-known African American bookstore in the U.S., carrying more than 24,000 titles.

Each of these companies was selected for the program because of their company’s upward growth potential and commitment to the inner city.

ICCC is a program co-founded with Bank of America to provide web-based training workshops, a day-long information session on equity and other forms of growth financing and an innovative one-day event that directly connects these business leaders with investors to make pitches and discuss potential opportunities.

“ICCC opens the door to a network of financial options that these firms had limited or no access to previously,” stated Deb Shufrin, ICIC Senior Vice President. “For many inner city entrepreneurs, the executive education around the options that exist for growth capital is as important as the investments their companies may ultimately receive.”

The program is free to the inner city businesses, and fifty companies from across the country have been selected to participate in this year’s program. To qualify, a business must be located in the inner city (defined as an area of concentrated economic distress) and have $2 million in revenues. The companies selected for the program represent numerous industries including technology, business and professional services, healthcare and manufacturing. Since its inception in 2005, two hundred inner city companies and one hundred and fifty equity providers have participated in ICCC. Participating companies have raised more than $335 million in capital and experienced a compound annual growth rate of 23%.

The meetings with potential investors will be held on November 18-19th. Both the training and investor event will take place in New York City at Bank of America’s One Bryant Park offices.

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter. ICIC’s mission is to promote economic prosperity in America’s inner cities through private sector engagement that leads to jobs, income and wealth creation for local residents.

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