ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Aug. 22, 2019 – The deadline is drawing near for Greater St. Louis entrepreneurs to apply for a tuition-free, high-impact business training program that Regions Bank and the St. Louis Regional Chamber are bringing back to the Gateway City.

The program is called Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC). Through ICCC, business owners in or near urban or economically underserved communities have access to nationally recognized business educators. These experts provide training designed to help entrepreneurs further develop their business plans, achieve long-term success, reach more customers and create more jobs.

“ICCC is helping propel business owners to the next level of success,” said Mike Hart, Greater St. Louis Market Executive for Regions. “Regions Bank and the St. Louis Regional Chamber first brought ICCC to St. Louis in 2016. Since then, we’ve seen the growth and success achieved by entrepreneurs who went through the program. That’s why we’re bringing ICCC back. We want to help more local companies achieve similar levels of success. With the 2019 ICCC event rapidly approaching, we encourage entrepreneurs across the area to apply while we still have space.”

ICCC covers topics ranging from finance and marketing to strategic planning, management and more. One-on-one peer coaching is also offered so entrepreneurs can share their experiences and learn how to address their own unique challenges and opportunities.

The deadline for business owners to apply to participate is Friday, Aug. 30.

“A more equitable St. Louis regional economy means more business owners and entrepreneurs, especially in urban or economically underserved areas, have access to expert training, professional networks and financial resources needed to grow their business and expand to new markets,” said St. Louis Regional Chamber President and CEO Tom Chulick. “Thanks to partners like Regions Bank, ICCC will help our business community grow in the right direction.”

Qualified local companies that are accepted into the program will be invited to participate in an intense, day-long ICCC training conference scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 10 at the Sheetmetal Workers Grand Hall at 2319 Chouteau Avenue. Further, ICCC offers free follow-up webinars and a national ICCC conference to help business owners build on their training over time.

According to the Boston-based nonprofit Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, which conducts ICCC, entrepreneurs who completed the 2016 ICCC St. Louis course have since experienced 91% revenue growth on average, creating 170 jobs and raising $13.5 million in capital.

Presenters scheduled to lead the Sept. 10 St. Louis sessions include:

  • Susan Perkins: Visiting Professor with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Gail Ayala Taylor: Clinical Professor of Business Administration at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
  • Derrick Collins: Dean of the College of Business at Chicago State University
  • Steve Bookbinder: A nationally sought-after consultant who works with Fortune 500 companies on workforce and leadership effectiveness

With degrees from both Yale and Harvard, Dr. Bookbinder uses his extensive education and practical experience to help business owners achieve lasting success. Perkins, Taylor and Collins will also lead in-depth discussions on converting business aspirations into workable strategies to help entrepreneurs take their companies to the next level.

Likened to a “mini MBA on steroids,” ICCC is focused on creating more inclusive growth and prosperity, pairing renowned academics with aspiring entrepreneurs.

“You want to talk to an expert to gain their insights and benefit from their experience – and we want that expert to talk to the entrepreneur in common-sense language with advice and guidance the business owner can put into practice immediately,” said Steve Grossman, CEO of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. “You want to go home saying, ‘I learned six or eight things today that I can put into my business tomorrow morning.’”

ICCC is offered at no cost due to financial support provided by Regions and community partners. Companies selected by ICCC to participate in the program should be growth-oriented businesses that have their headquarters or more than 51 percent of their physical operations in or near urban or economically underserved areas. Companies may also participate if more than 40 percent of their employees reside in an economically underserved area.

Participants should be an independent for-profit or not-for-profit corporation, partnership or proprietorship. The program is not geared toward startups; rather, its focus is sparking growth within existing businesses. Additional information on eligibility – as well as applications – can be found on the ICCC website, www.iccapitalconnections.org.