The application deadline is drawing near for small business owners interested in participating in a Harvard-style, cost-free financial education program that Regions Bank, the Birmingham Business Alliance, Alabama Power and Protective Life are bringing to Central Alabama.
The program, called Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC), is designed to help small businesses in economically distressed areas achieve sustainable growth and access capital. By connecting business owners with experts ranging from Harvard Business School professors to recognized leaders in the fields of marketing, financing, and more, ICCC works to help business owners grow their companies, hire more people, and serve more customers.
The main event for ICCC in Birmingham will be an August 6 executive education seminar for business owners who apply and are accepted into the program. The deadline to apply is June 30.
“ICCC brings an incredible amount of resources directly to small business owners, and it’s important for business owners who are interested to apply now,” said Leroy Abrahams, North Central Alabama area president for Regions Bank. “We have seen what ICCC is accomplishing for small businesses in cities across the country, and we want more companies here in Birmingham, and other cities throughout Alabama, to be able to receive this education and achieve their true potential.”
Experts scheduled to participate in the Birmingham seminar include Harvard Business School Professors Dr. Michael Porter and Steven Rogers. It was Porter’s vision that led to the establishment of ICCC in 2005.
“As inner-city companies become more competitive, we see long-term benefits in terms of job growth and stronger communities,” Professor Porter said. “We are bringing market-based solutions that help support real, tangible progress in urban communities and, in turn, the surrounding region.”
According to ICCC, more than 800 businesses have participated in the program since its inception. Those businesses have raised more than $1 billion in capital and have created approximately 11,000 jobs in cities across America.
“For business owners to truly succeed, they have to be what I call ‘learned entrepreneurs,’” Rogers said. “The key is, for the rest of your life, embrace continuing education. Opportunities such as the one presented by ICCC in Birmingham will connect you with strategies, tactics and insights designed to increase your chances for success.”
The August 6 day-long executive education seminar will take place at Regions Field. To apply to attend, business owners must fill out and submit an application via the ICCC website at this link.
Companies selected by ICCC are growth-oriented businesses with a significant presence in economically distressed urban areas. They must either be headquartered in such areas or meet one of the following requirements: at least 40% of the company’s employees or 51% of the company’s physical operations must be in distressed geographies. They must also be for-profit corporations, partnerships or proprietorships.
The executive education presented at ICCC seminars covers topics such as strategy, entrepreneurial finance, debt and equity finance, components of an investor pitch, valuation methodologies and raising capital, growth through acquisition, negotiation skills for contracts, marketing, talent management, and more.
ICCC is part of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a nonprofit research and strategy organization founded in 1994 to compile and share information to help support and strengthen urban market opportunities.