Equity in

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. 
–Dominique birdsong, founder of Ziva Naseer and Dianna Tremblay, iCA Chief Program and Strategic Initiatives Officer
our impact

That’s where ICA Fund comes in.

Since 2012 we’ve accelerated 129 Bay Area businesses and invested over $12M with 84¢ 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.

We’re continuing to work our 5-year strategy to raise and deploy $25 million by 2027 to grow Bay Area businesses and close the gender and racial wealth gaps.

Download the 2023 Impact Report
Allison Kelly, CEO of ICA Fund

Coming Together

A message from our CEO

In a world that often feels divided, small businesses remain a unifying force, and remain an institution that most Americans agree is a force for good. They not only drive economic growth but also foster a sense of belonging within our communities.

Running a business is never easy, but these businesses are the heart and soul of our communities. They represent hope, opportunity, and the promise of a better world. I invite you to delve deeper into ICA Fund’s journey toward equity in entrepreneurship as we share our impactful year.

— Allison Kelly, CEO, ICA Fund

Read the full CEO Memo
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,
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. 53 seed-stage companies have graduated from the Lab since the program launched in 2021.

Learn more about The Lab at ICA

In 2023, companies in the Lab saw an average of
42% 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.

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

$1.2M 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.

We started negozee for my parents, uncles, aunts and millions of immigrants like them. We noticed the desire to succeed in the US but the challenge to understand laws and regulation due to the language barrier. By simply explaining things in Spanish, we open the world to the US capital market. The most surprising thing in my journey with ICA is how available and accessible everyone is. I feel like ICA helped me "break into" Silicon Valley.

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.

75 companies have graduated from the Accelerator since the program launched in 2016.

Learn more about The Accelerator at ICA
I had a feeling my experience with ICA was going to be transformative, but I’m most surprised by how at home I felt in the Accelerator. I’ve always wanted more connection here in the Bay, and ICA offered that and more. ICA also served as the best container for me to strategize and plan out the next 5 years for my business. Between financial modeling and developing an intentional hiring strategy, ICA prepared me for the next big high level decisions I needed to make to move my business forward.
-Ashley Nickelsen, founder of B.T.R Nation Based in San Francisco, CA

In 2023, Accelerator companies saw a average of 35% year-over-year growth.

88% of Accelerator companies are run by women or people of color.

Our Impact: The ICA Growth Fund

ICA has deployed $10.8M to growth-stage companies since 2012. 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.

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

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.

129 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

There is this magic that happens when entrepreneurs come together. The support, collaboration, and knowledge sharing that happens in these spaces is what truly fuels innovation and growth. This is what inspires our work and why we continue to focus on building our community through events, peer-led workshops, and our new virtual community platform. We are building more than a network. We are working towards an entrepreneur ecosystem that nurtures connection and gets us a step closer to an economy that works for all.

- Angelica Lozada, Network Engagement Manager


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 2023, ICA portfolio companies retained 1010 jobs with an average wage of $24.73/hour.

I’ve always wanted to give back and be in Oakland, to build in Oakland, and that’s what we did with Courtsmith. Growing up here I knew that there were geniuses and smart kids all around, but most of us don’t get a shot. ICA Fund was our first major investor. ICA stepped up and believed in us. Our team will continue to leverage this to scale up and hit our targets.
- Courtney Smith, founder Of Courtsmith based in Oakland, CA

14 ICA Impact Note investments in 2023

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
Growing Nirvana Soul means we can do more in our community. We live in a reality where Black women do not get adequate funding and don’t have pathways to grow their businesses. We’re here to disprove that. Working with ICA Fund has been a blessing. Having your team see us, see how hard we’re working, and join us in making this dream come true, means everything.

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

“We are excited to support the ICA Fund through an Economic Impact Grant. Their work to provide coaching, capital, and connections to Bay Area businesses is a great example of how we can shift the balance of power in local communities through wealth building. We’re deeply aligned in our efforts to invest in and support creativity, risk-taking, and bold action toward closing the racial wealth gap.”

DanieL Gould
VP of Investment & Operations
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!

Work With Us

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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