Kaiser Permanente Sponsors Program Offering Free Training, Education, Mentorship to Baltimore Small Business Owners


Kaiser Permanente and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) are inviting small business owners in Baltimore and surrounding communities 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. The program is particularly relevant this year as many small businesses in communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ICCC’s 2021 Baltimore cohort is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and facilitated with support from the Mayor’s Office Minority and Women-owned Business Development (MWBD). The program is designed to help small businesses in communities facing economic injustice to develop strategies that build their capacity for sustainable growth and create opportunities to connect with capital sources to help create jobs locally.

“At Kaiser Permanente, we know that thriving small businesses are vital to the overall well-being of communities. The ICCC training program allows us to support local communities by helping small 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 have also seen the participants in this program support their communities with vital services like childcare and affordable housing. We are thrilled to partner with ICIC to invest in the future of Baltimore.”

The 2021 cohort marks the fourth time ICCC has been offered to the region’s small businesses since 2018. Baltimore is home to 232 ICCC alumni that have averaged 57% growth in revenue and raised $3.27M in capital since their participation in the program. The ICCC 2020 Baltimore cohort included 88% Black, indigenous or person of color-owned and 62% woman-owned businesses.

Nkenge Yasin, a child development specialist and founder of Learning How who participated in last year’s Baltimore cohort, said that the ICCC program offered her a chance to learn how to scale her childcare business.

“I want to help inner-city children thrive – that’s what Learning How is all about. The ICCC program really helped me access additional partners and the resources that I needed to grow Learning How,” said Yasin. “The program has taught me the importance of networking and collaboration, especially in our new virtual environment.”

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 Baltimore cohort opens with two half-day seminars on July 27 and July 29, 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.

“ICIC is proud to partner with Kaiser Permanente to deliver high-impact programming and build connections that support and help strengthen our small business communities,” said Steve Grossman, CEO of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. “Together, we are creating sustainable small business ecosystems in the region’s most economically vulnerable cities by providing 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.

The application deadline for the ICCC 2021 Baltimore cohort is July 9th. Visit ICIC’s website for additional detail about the ICCC program including eligibility criteria and applications.  https://icic.org/urban-business-initiatives/inner-city-capital-connections/baltimoremd/

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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