Regions Bank and the Boston nonprofit Initiative for a Competitive Inner City are bringing a program to Houston that connects small business owners in economically underserved areas with entrepreneurial training and mentorship.
The free program will offer an intense, all-day business training session on June 17. This will include educational courses and business plan coaching sessions. After June 17, participants can continue learning through follow-up webinars and additional coaching.
Related: SBA in Houston guaranteed $1B in loans, bonds to small businesses
The program is called Inner City Capital Connections, and its alumni from cohorts from 2005 to 2018 saw average revenue increases of 120 percent. These alumni created 21,390 jobs and raised $2.2 billion in capital, according to a report from Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. One participant, Cedric Cobb, even appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank to pitch a product that helps men keep their pocket squares neatly in place. His pitch landed one of the show’s mentors and investors, Daymond John, CEO of the FUBU fashion line, as a business partner, according to Regions Bank.
Small business owners can apply for the program in Houston at apply.iccapitalconnections.org. Businesses must be located in (or have more than 40 percent of its employees located in) an economically distressed area. The business needs to be at least two years old. The Inner City Capital Connections program does not accept startups and typically works with businesses that have annual revenue of at least $500,000.
“We are committed to inclusive prosperity, and that’s exactly what Inner City Capital Connections helps create,” Mark Jacobs, Regions Bank’s market executive in Houston, said in a news release. “This is a thriving, global city. We owe it to our community to help ensure that, as Houston grows, more people have an opportunity to take part in that growth.”
The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City was founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter. Regions Bank and its partners will contribute roughly $100,000 to bring its program to Houston. Regions Bank, with 44 branches in the Houston area, has sponsored or co-sponsored nine cohorts of the Inner City Capital Connections program in five cities since 2014.