Kaiser Permanente-Sponsored Program Offers Training, Education, Mentorship to Washington, DC and NOVA Business Owners


Kaiser Permanente and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) are inviting small business owners in Washington D.C., and Northern Virginia to apply to the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program – a tuition-free, 40-hour “mini-MBA” program that combines executive education, webinars and coaching delivered by top-ranking university professors and local experts. This year marks the first Northern Virginia cohort and the first time offering Spanish translation for the D.C. cohort.

The ICCC program, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, is designed to help small businesses in communities facing economic injustice with strategies to build capacity for sustainable growth and opportunities to connect with capital sources to help create jobs locally. The program is particularly relevant this year as many small businesses in communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At Kaiser Permanente, we recognize that small businesses play a vital role in the overall well-being of communities. The ICCC training program allows us to support local communities by helping small, local businesses grow and thrive,” said Celeste James, executive director, Community Health, Kaiser Permanente, Mid-Atlantic. “Healthy small businesses bring jobs and important services to our communities. We are honored to partner with ICIC to invest in the future of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia.”

The 2021 cohort marks the fourth time that the ICCC has been offered to Washington’s small businesses since 2017, and the first time welcoming a Northern Virginia cohort. Washington is home to 261 ICCC alumni, and since their participating have averaged 51% growth revenue, created 793 jobs and raised $55M in capital. The 2020 DC cohort included 87% Black, indigenous or people-of-color-owned and 63% woman-owned businesses.

“The ICCC program offers valuable lessons for small business owners at any phase – from start-up owners to more experienced entrepreneurs like myself,” said Kevin Jennings, ICCC alum and CEO and co-founder of Millenium Corp., a Northern Virginia-based cyber security company. “Even in a virtual environment, I was able to learn from the first-hand experiences entrepreneurs and build relationships within the local business community. I am thrilled that the ICCC is expanding to Northern Virginia and I encourage fellow small business owners to consider this opportunity.”

Entrepreneurs accepted into the program will participate in 40 hours of high-impact virtual learning that is divided into four components designed to maximize each participant’s experience and accommodate their busy schedules. The Washington D.C., cohort opens with two half-day seminars on Sept. 28 and 30, and Northern Virginia kicks off with seminars on Oct. 19 and 21, taught by leading business professors. Throughout the program, participants engage in webinars, digital learning sessions and one-on-one business coaching appointments that tackle immediate challenges. The program culminates with a virtual national conference that focuses on building strategies of resilience and connecting with capital providers.

Getenesh Asfaw, president of staffing agency Placement Ready, works to place hundreds of workers into permanent roles to stabilize and enhance their lives. As a member of last year’s Washington, D.C. cohort, she was able to develop new competencies, critical to the success of her business.

“As a Black- and woman-owned business, it’s important we stay ahead of the curve in this competitive landscape,” said Asfaw. “At Placement Ready, we thrive on helping hardworking individuals in our community land that perfect job. To do that, we have to be knowledgeable in our craft. The ICCC program helped my team develop resilient business strategies and provided us with great insights that will allow us to take the company to the next level.”

“ICIC is proud to partner with Kaiser Permanente to foster inclusive prosperity in inner-city communities,” said Steve Grossman, CEO, ICIC. “Together, we are creating sustainable small business ecosystems in the region’s most economically vulnerable cities by providing hundreds of under-resourced local entrepreneurs the ability to build access to capital and achieve sustainable growth in revenue and employment.”

Kaiser Permanente has long supported the ICCC program; funding for this year’s cohorts is part of a $100 million commitment that Kaiser Permanente announced last June to advance racial equity, strengthen businesses led by people of color to help them overcome systemic economic disadvantage and to support them in the wake of COVID-19.

Applications can be completed at https://icic.org/urban-business-initiatives/inner-city-capital-connections. Applications for the Washington, D.C. program are due September 3rd and applications for the Northern Virginia program are due September 24th.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/

About ICCC

Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) is a tuition-free executive leadership training program designed by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) to help business owners in under-resourced communities build capacity for sustainable growth in revenue, profitability, and employment. ICCC is uniquely designed to provide three critical elements for sustainable growth: Capacity-building education, One-on-one coaching, and Connections to capital and capital providers.

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