Inner City Capital Connections Program ...

IB Pet is one of four businesses selected to participate in the Inner City Capital Connections program, an executive training program for under resourced communities.

IB Pet, Mike Hess Brewing, El Tapatio Catering and SunCoast Market Co-op were recently chosen to be part of a tuition free executive training program held by Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) for under resourced communities to help with revenue growth, employment and profitability.

Councilman Mark West nominated IB Pet, Mike Hess Brewing and El Tapatio Catering for the program while SunCoast, who did not originally qualify, was nominated by Mission Business Finance. After the businesses were nominated, they had to apply and go through an interview process over the phone before they were chosen.

West, who works with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, heard about the program and nominated the businesses. “I looked at businesses that met the requirements and felt they could benefit for this mini MBA program,” he said.

West is also on the Mayor’s Business Task Force, created because of COVID to help local businesses. He thought the program could really benefit the three businesses.”Our business community is struggling to deal with the effects of COVID. I want to provide any opportunity to improve their businesses and be better,” he said.

For some of the businesses, the program started last week via an online platform with a seminar which featured two half day sessions with top business professors discussing critical topics. The program will continue with a webinar series, individual coaching, which addresses business challenges, and lastly a national conference. The program lasts between three to six months and will take about 40 hours to complete. There will be in person and virtual learning sessions.

To be eligible business have to: be an independent, for-profit or non-profit corporation, partnership or proprietorship; be past the proof-of-concept stage; have its headquarters or more than 51% of its physical operations located in an economically-distressed area or have more than 40% of employees residing in an economically-distressed area; and have been in operation for two years or more. ICCC does not accept start-up companies.

ICCC relaxed its requirements and SunCoast was able to be part of the program. “SunCoast wouldn’t qualify under [ICCC] typical eligibility (operating for two years and revenue of $500,000 plus),” said Kim Frink, board president who with SunCoast Treasurer Shirley Soth took part in the two online sessions. “It was 70 of us, businesses and non-profits…they bring experts from all over the country. The 3 to 6 month program will provide coaching and additional training and provide us with ideas on how to access capital,” she said.

SunCoast Market Co-Op is currently looking at identifying a location for a supermarket and start a capital campaign by summer of 2021. “Our next step is to connect to coaches and work one on one addressing special challenges and find opportunities to move forward…[ICCC] has experts from all over the country,” said Frink. She and Soth hope to gain knowledge from the program to help with the capital project.

Carolina Arana owner of El Tapatio Catering for 22 years, hopes to learn more about marketing and other resources the program has to offer. “It is exciting. I’m blessed to be part of this,” she said.

Russ Blauer, owner of IB Pet thinks the program is a good opportunity. “I’m all for continuing education, especially in business,” he said. Blauer said that when he was getting his business degree he was able to apply what he learned to his business, so he hopes to do the same by attending the ICCC program.

“This course is finance centered and it’s always good to have other options,” he said.

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