At the end of 2015, Inner City Advisors and its partner organization, Fund Good Jobs, formally recombined as one organization, uniting a rock-solid team that has a healthy obsession for delivering results, taking smart risks, and learning how to solve challenges in real time.
I am fortunate that my profession is also one of my greatest passions: working with entrepreneurs to improve and scale their businesses. It is a privilege to build on the legacy of our former CEO, Jose Corona. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, I am reminded of the opportunity Jose gave me nearly ten years ago by inviting me to join the ICA family. I come to this role from a unique vantage point, having worked with ICA Fund Good Jobs over the past 10 years as a volunteer, portfolio manager, COO, founder of Fund Good Jobs, and finally as CEO of the recombined organization.
I have seen first hand the power of people coming together to advise and invest in small businesses that create good jobs for those who need them the most. This energy has led to a number of important partnerships, building an ecosystem of entrepreneur support that is truly poised to move the needle on good job creation.
In fact, every dollar’s worth of advisory support for our companies yields $43 in employee wealth.
Over our 20-year history, we have worked with hundreds of companies that have created thousands of jobs and earned hundreds of millions in revenue. We are extremely proud of the incredible successes of the companies we have served, including legacy companies like Revolution Foods and Blue Bottle Coffee, as well as more recent companies like Back to the Roots, Red Bay Coffee and Firebrand Artisan Breads that have become the foundation of our investment portfolio. Over time, as we have learned about the evolving needs of our entrepreneurs and community, we have drilled down on the strategies that make our model more impactful. This requires an entrepreneurial orientation and commitment to constant learning, as well as intention, focus, persistence, patience, and ultimately a willingness to pivot and adapt based on a rigorous evaluation of our impact.
As we embark on the next 20 years of our history, our mission is to educate, accelerate, and invest in high-growth small businesses in order to create accessible good jobs that lead to equitable communities for all.
The work of ICA Fund Good Jobs is rooted in our hands-on experience and an awareness of broader economic trends. Job quality has decreased over time, becoming a major driver of growing disparity. Many of the fastest growing sectors of the economy produce low quality jobs, so we must support businesses to create not just jobs, but GOOD jobs that provide good pay, good benefits, life ladders and a strong culture. Small businesses supply many of the jobs in our economy, and entrepreneurs have a high degree of agency regarding the quality of jobs that they create and the people they employ. We know that by providing under-resourced entrepreneurs with targeted education, advisory support and access to capital, their businesses can become sites for high quality jobs and for increased economic inclusion at the local level.
The urgency of our mission demands that we invest in disrupting the status quo. We can see where the solutions are missing, and we are uniquely positioned to tackle these challenges by doing what we do best: rolling up our sleeves and working alongside entrepreneurs in order to grow businesses and create good jobs.
This past year has represented a pivotal moment for ICA Fund Good Jobs. As a part of the recombination effort, we rallied our team with renewed focus. We engaged our network of entrepreneurs, advisors and our board members to listen and learn about what we do well, and where we can do better. We developed disruptive, replicable tools that support our core competency: helping small business owners create good jobs. These tools will be instrumental in scaling the impact of our work throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Most importantly, in 2015 we served over 100 entrepreneurs, connecting them to the resources they need to grow and create good jobs.
Three main objectives will guide our activities through 2016 and beyond:
- We will diversify our funding streams across grants, earned income, and investment opportunities to sustainably scale our impact.
- We will deepen our focus on educating, accelerating and investing in good job-creating small businesses.
- We will celebrate our 20-year evolution and set a strategic growth vision to position our work for the next 20 years.
We must move with the same entrepreneurial hustle as the companies we serve, and explore the various ways we can embody our values in our work. We believe that everyone has a role in funding good jobs, and I encourage you to embrace your role in this work, whether as a supporter, advisor, entrepreneur, or volunteer.
Let’s stick together as we work toward building an equitable community and a world in which everyone has access to a good job.
Sean Daniel Murphy
CEO, ICA Fund Good Jobs