ICA Fund accelerates great businesses through mentoring and investments to close the racial and gender wealth gaps.

Entrepreneurs have the power to transform communities and drive wealth-building opportunities. 
But entrepreneurs who are from systemically underrepresented backgrounds, like women and people of color, often don’t get access to the tools they need to start and grow community serving businesses. 
–Youngwon Lee, founder of Dokkaebier,
an Asian-style craft brewery
based in Oakland, CA
our impact

That’s where ICA Fund comes in.

Since 2016 we’ve accelerated 103 Bay Area businesses and invested over $10M with 90 cents of every dollar going to women or people of color.

These founders are on their way to growing community-serving businesses that create good jobs and a thriving local economy.

Over the next 5 years, we’ll be raising and deploying our next $25M to grow Bay Area businesses and close the gender and racial wealth gap.

Jump to our impact reports
Sharon Tuggle, founder of 5 Element Foods,
a holistic pet food store in Oakland

The ICA Impact Note

Our investments are structured to build wealth at a community-level.

Our funding approach enables small business entrepreneurs to prioritize creating good jobs, workforce diversity, and employee wealth as they grow.

When we invest with the ICA Impact Note, we return equity percentages back to the founder as they achieve these wealth building metrics, bringing investor and founder into true partnership for impact.

Learn more about the ICA Impact Note
We’re there for entrepreneurs at every step of their journey.
Being an entrepreneur is living my life on my own terms.
Princess Sims, co-founder of The Final Sauce,
a gourmet BBQ sauce brand based in Oakland, CA

Our Impact:
the Lab at ICA

The Lab at ICA is our accelerator for seed-stage businesses and is paired with access to capital from the ICA Seed Fund. Each year, two intimate cohorts work with ICA over the course of three months to grow and develop their businesses in a safe, supportive environment. Thirty-eight seed-stage companies have graduated from the Lab since the program launched in 2021.

Learn more about The Lab at ICA
Sway Soturi, Founder of Forest & Flour,
an allergen-free bakery in San Jose
Before working with ICA, I felt alone and not understood. It's true when people say that once you are in ICA, you become like family. Our cohort cheers each other on and is very supportive of each other. ICA made me feel heard, and that my mission mattered. ICA gave me a sense of direction. I'm really excited to improve and learn how to be an inclusive business.

In 2022, companies in the Lab saw an average of
126% year-over
-year growth.

100% of companies in the Lab are run by women or people of color.

We started the Lab because we weren’t seeing enough entrepreneurs of color in the Accelerator, our program for more established companies who are getting ready to scale. We knew we had to expand our services to reach founders earlier on in their journey and ensure businesses run by Black and Brown people in our communities are getting to the point where they can scale.
— Caron Gugssa-Howard, ICA Portfolio Director

Our Impact:
the ICA Seed Fund

Low-cost, flexible capital is often not available to early-stage founders, outside of a ‘friends and family round,’ which are less accessible to Black, Brown, and other people of color due to lower levels of generational wealth caused by systemic inequality.

At ICA, companies become eligible to apply for equity investment from the ICA Seed Fund after graduating from the Lab. This type of capital is critical for underrepresented founders and — paired with ICA’s ongoing supportive services — helps founders get their businesses off the ground at a critical juncture.

Learn more about the ICA Seed Fund

$875K deployed to early-stage businesses from the ICA Seed Fund since 2021.

100% of every dollar went to businesses run by women or people of color.

The investment I got from ICA was a real game-changer for Bolita Masa. I was finally able to buy the better, more commercial equipment I needed to produce on a larger scale. It's amazing how much more I can get done now! Thanks to that support, I've been able to expand my sales channels and even hire two new employees. It feels great to be growing and making an impact in my community.
Emmanuel Galvan, founder of Bolita Masa,
a heirloom masa tortilleria based in Berkeley, CA

Our Impact: The Accelerator at ICA

The Accelerator at ICA is a game-changer for entrepreneurs who want to grow their business and make a positive impact on their communities.

 The Accelerator provides coaching, connections, and capital to help entrepreneurs scale their business in community with each other and our network of top-notch instructors and advisors. Participating entrepreneurs meet weekly for 4 months in intimate cohort-based workshops, and each entrepreneur is paired with a strategic advisor who works with them 1-on-1.

Sixty-five companies have graduated from the Accelerator since the program launched in 2016.

Learn more about The Accelerator at ICA
Starting Rize Up was a way to channel energy into something healing during the social unrest caused by the murder of George Floyd. As we grew from a home-based bakery to a 5,000-square-foot facility in SoMa, the ICA Accelerator program came into our lives as an invaluable partner. Through validation, camaraderie, and a sense of community, I feel seen and more confident than ever that I can make my dreams happen. I realized that I'm not crazy to want this and that with hard work and support, anything is possible. We're all hustling to make this happen, but knowing that you're not alone is worth everything.
Z Anderson, founder of Rize Up, a bakery focused  on reenvisioning sourdough based in San Francisco, CA

In 2022, Accelerator companies saw a average of 66% year-over-year growth.

87% of Accelerator companies are run by women or people of color.

Our Impact: The ICA Growth Fund

ICA has deployed $9.2M to 22 growth-stage companies since 2012, with $6.4M deployed since 2021, when we launched the ICA Growth Fund. 82% of the capital invested was the first institutional funding ever received by the companies, and our investments have catalyzed at least $109M in additional funding.

Working with ICA was a refreshing experience. Pilotly’s cultural insights technology is changing the way content creators do business, and we have the numbers to show it. However, we struggled to find a VC who would give our company an honest and fair analysis. ICA’s values-aligned approach to investing was our point of connection, and their rigorous due diligence proved that we are a company worth investing in. We are grateful for their support and proud to be a part of the ICA community.
James Norman, founder of Pilotly a market
Research platform based in Oakland, CA
I’ve gone through other small business support programs. What made ICA stand out is the community that’s involved.
Sway Soturi, Founder of Forest & Flour,
an allergen-free bakery in San Jose, CA
- Amirh Davis, founder of Pillar Cowork based in Lafayette, CA

Keeping our 850+ alumni network connected

Once companies graduate from our programs, they join the ICA alumni network, which includes Lab and Accelerator program graduates, as well as companies that engaged with ICA in earlier iterations of our model. All of these companies have access to our ongoing workshops, quarterly mixers, monthly opportunities resource hub, and ongoing 1-on-1 strategic advising as needed.

Sixty-eight companies have graduated from the Accelerator since the program launched in 2016.

Each start-up has its own unique challenges, but the overarching, consistent theme has been growth…I love being an ICA advisor and helping start-ups find their way towards their North Star.
- Stephanie Louie
ICA advisor and founder
oF One10 North

When entrepreneurs pool resources, they grow.

In 2022, ICA launched the Shared Services pilot to bring HR and financial administration services to entrepreneurs at a reduced cost from trusted professionals in the ICA network. In our first year, 54 companies took advantage of the services, and we will grow the pilot into a program in 2023.


Entrepreneurs create good jobs that build wealth in communities.

Our funding approach helps entrepreneurs to prioritize creating good jobs, workforce diversity, and employee wealth as they grow. ICA minimizes our ownership stake, so founders can continue to grow their business for community social impact.

In 2022 ICA portfolio companies retained 332 jobs with an average wage of $34.54/hour.

We've been growing our team and our goal for 2023 is to create two full-time jobs with benefits and healthcare. ICA helped me see a clear pathway to make this a reality. It's important to me to really take care of my employees and make sure they are growing their career by creating environments and roles where we can all lead and learn.
- Dominique Waters, founder of Ziva Naseer
a boutique handbag company based in Oakland, CA

7 ICA Impact Note investments in 2022

In 2022, we introduced the ICA Impact Note, our investment vehicle that returns equity percentages back to founders as they achieve employee wealth building metrics. As companies meet these impact milestones, the investor returns equity ownership percentages back to the company.

Learn more about ICA Impact Note
I have the best employees, and it’s really important for me to take care of them. In 2023, I’ll be hiring more employees and I’m working to get health insurance and 401K plans going for our team.
- Sharon Tuggle, founder of 5 Element Food
Therapy, holistic food brand for dogs and cats

Purpose-driven growth takes time

As an early-stage investor, we recognize that it takes time for businesses to grow and make a positive impact in terms of job creation and community wealth building. In 2021, we significantly increased our investments, and we look forward to seeing the long-term effects of these efforts. A great example of our impact is Firebrand Artisan Breads, a company we have worked with for over a decade. Our coaching, connections, and capital have helped Firebrand create good jobs and build wealth in their community.

Read the Firebrand Case Study
Together we can build an economy that works for all.

Investors can grow the capital available to women founders and entrepreneurs of color.

Funder testimonials

“ICA has been a valuable partner as we learn about how small businesses led by people of color can create economic mobility and wealth. Their work to create family-sustaining jobs and build wealth for workers is a great example of how we can build a more equitable economy.””

Landon Dickey
Director of Program Development
Irvine Foundation
Funder testimonials

“The Surdna Foundation’s Inclusive Economies program is thrilled to continue our partnership with ICA as they develop and test innovative financial products in response to the needs of historically marginalized entrepreneurs. ICA’s commitment is not only to be a stalwart for entrepreneurs but to be a critical partner in strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Bay Area.”

Patrice R. Green
Director, Inclusive Economies
surdna Foundation
Funder testimonials

“ICA is a dynamic, community-centered organization that responds and adapts to the needs of its clients. The eBay Foundation is proud to support their efforts and commitment to driving bold and transformative change within the small business ecosystem. Our partnership with ICA is highly valued, and we are amazed by their meaningful and sustained impact.”

Allie Ottoboni
eBay Foundation

Thank you!

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Join the movement.

Help accelerate great Bay Area businesses and create wealth in our community.


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Your experience is invaluable. At ICA, our advisors play a pivotal role in supporting our clients’ growth, help spark local innovation, and give back to the community in powerful ways.

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The businesses in which ICA invests are successful companies committed to growth, good jobs, and wealth creation and with your help they are poised for long-term success.

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