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May 6, 2013

Initiative for a Competitive Inner City creates shared value here at home

by racheljlucy

The following blurb is from the website of Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and describes the organization’s mission and activities.

“The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City is a nonprofit research and strategy organization and the leading authority on U.S. inner city economies and the businesses that thrive there. Founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, ICIC strengthens inner city economies by providing businesses, governments and investors with the most comprehensive and actionable information in the field about urban market opportunities.


  • We promote a dynamic urban marketplace powered by diversity, creative enterprise and untapped competitive advantages.
  • We determine the industry clusters with the highest market opportunity for inner city business growth and job creation. 
  • We teach inner city businesses how to compete for capital and gain access to capital providers.
  • We guide financial institutions to new investment opportunities and some of the world’s fastest-growing companies. 
  • We identify critical factors for economic growth in urban environments and inform public officials about the best practices that produce the most significant effects. 

ICIC’s unique knowledge of inner city success factors and growing companies is developed from specialized urban networks and path-breaking research.

This quote is important because it provides a good snapshot of the organization, which really reminds me of our class discussion and reading on Creating Shared Value which, consequently, was also “founded” by Michael Porter. 

ICIC helps small businesses better understand the needs of inner city populations, which creates shared value because it allows these companies to operate more profitably, but it also spurs economic development in these often impoverished areas, which provides more opportunities for jobs and growth. 

The Creating Shared Value that we discussed in class was mostly related to large MNCs creating this shared value in other countries.  ICIC, on the other hand, is focused on creating shared value in urban areas in the United States.  Instead of this idea being carried out by one huge company, ICIC serves as a link between small businesses and urban economies.  Small businesses may not have the knowledge and/or resources to gather the knowledge necessary to effectively operate in these areas, so ICIC provides them with this information.  Similarly, mayors of cities may not know how to attract small businesses and advertise the unique needs and opportunities that their urban centers have to offer. 

All in all, I think this organization is unique in that it aims to improve economic conditions through supporting small businesses.

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