A Kaiser Permanente partnership with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City offers 40 hours of training for small business owners to help their companies grow. Pictured, a young entrepreneur from Sacramento participates in a discussion about business strategy.
For many people, starting a business is the American Dream — being your own boss, having the autonomy and freedom to work hard for your company to succeed, and to model your work style based on your lifestyle. What many don’t know is that most entrepreneurs work 24/7 and wear dozens of hats.
Business owners like Brian Fisher, co-owner of Cornflower Creamery in Sacramento, say they sometimes get caught up in their internal operations and don’t often have the opportunity to get out and learn how to grow and increase profits.
That is why the ice cream and pizza shop owner was thrilled to participate in a recent “mini MBA program,” in July with 40 hours of executive education designed for business owners just like him through a partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the national non-profit Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) that helps small businesses grow and expand.
Fisher’s Cornflower Creamery is one of 85 businesses from the Sacramento and Stockton areas selected to join the 2019 cohort of the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program. The program includes professors from top-flight universities who lecture on best practices, strategy, sales and marketing, talent recruitment and management, and entrepreneurial finance. The goal of the program is to create well paying jobs in urban areas across the United States, which in turn helps create healthy communities.
“Fifty-nine million people are hired by small businesses in this country, said Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Chief Community Health Officer Bechara Choucair during remarks at the ICCC opening seminar. “The key driver for health is the success of these businesses, the jobs they create, and the opportunity for people to live the lives they want to live.”
Gary Hansen, owner of G-Force Productions which supplies audio visual solutions for businesses and conferences in Stockton, said the training was incredible.
“The professors break down concepts into comprehensive and applicable practices that business owners are able to implement the following day,” Hansen said. “I’ve had my business since 1986 and learned so much today that I’m excited to go back and do my homework to help develop the economic growth of Stockton.”
In addition to the yearly seminar, ICCC provides free training, education, and mentorship to small business owners to help them build their capacity and seek access to capital. The ICCC 2019 Sacramento Stockton cohort incorporates 53 percent woman-owned and 60 percent minority-owned small businesses from underserved communities.
“We absolutely believe that if we support our local business owners, they can increase their capacity, resulting in more employment and economic stimulus and an overall improvement in the health of the community,” said Corwin Harper, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente Central Valley which includes Stockton.
In 2018, ICIC had a successful inaugural cohort of 60 businesses that averaged $1.2 million in revenue, 10 full-time employees at the time of participation, and an average business age of 13 years.