In 2021, we expanded our programming with the launch of The Lab at ICA, an accelerator for high-potential, earlier-stage businesses that helps entrepreneurs chart actionable, achievable plans for growth. Too many founders never make it to the growth stage because they lack access to coaching and capital early on. That’s why we’re focused on building a bigger pipeline of women founders and entrepreneurs of color whose bold ideas will help reshape our economy and communities.
Our results show that doing things the ICA way—by listening, learning, and innovating in response to the values and visions of our entrepreneurs—is working.
— Tosca Hillman, founder of GlōGirl Cosmetics
GlōGirl designs and manufactures a range of paraben-free makeup products for ethnic skin tones. GlōGirl participated in The Lab at ICA in 2021.
— Charlotte Walker, founder of Charlotte Truffles
Charlotte Truffles is an award-winning chocolate company that makes uniquely flavored sweets that represent its founder’s diverse upbringing.
— Xenia St. Charles, founder of Brash Cosmetics
BRASH is a natural, cruelty-free, affordable skincare line that makes its customers “look, feel and smell as fly as they are”.
Access to funding is one of the biggest obstacles for small business owners, and this is especially true for women and people of color.
In 2021, ICA deployed more funding than ever before to small businesses in the Bay Area - including launching Seed Capital, a $50,000 investment in early-stage companies that are graduates of The Lab at ICA, which is designed to fill the “friends and family” equity financing gap many small businesses face.
ICA also created a brand new investment tool in 2021. The ICA Impact Note is designed to help entrepreneurs prioritize the social impacts of their businesses, such as good jobs, workforce diversity, and employee wealth creation. As companies meet the social-impact milestones they set, investors return equity ownership percentages back to them. Pietisserie and ElectroSpit—two high-growth, Black-owned businesses—were the first to implement this new investment structure.
Over the past 12+ months, we have raised $10 million to invest in Bay Area businesses. In 2021, we deployed nearly $4M to high-potential local businesses, and we’re building a strong pipeline of exciting entrepreneurs to invest in for the future.
Headquartered in Oakland, CA, ElectroSpit produces the world’s only fully-portable, tubeless talkbox for musicians and is gaining exceptional momentum that will help it create good jobs here in the Bay Area.
—Bosko Kante, Co-Founder
This female co-founded company is leading the way in the upcycling-food space and is a prime example of ICA’s approach of integrating tailored capital and an intentionally designed system of support.
—Caroline Cotto, Co-Founder
Since participating in The Accelerator at ICA in 2018, Progeny Coffee has become a stand-out example of how investment can power a top-notch, scalable product that builds wealth in the community, all while maintaining strong ethical standards for its own workers as well as its vendors.
—Maria Palacio, Co-founder
Our advisors work hand-in-hand with entrepreneurs over weeks or months, offering a wide range of expertise and experience to help businesses grow. These connections extend beyond ICA’s formal programs and continue to make a difference at each stage of a business’s growth.
ICA and our partner organizations—such as The Greenlining Institute’s People Of Color Small Business Network, Runway, Working Solutions, Alliance for Community Development, and Uptima Entrepreneur Cooperative—work together to support businesses at different parts of their journey and help them grow through powerful connections and expert guidance.
—Hannah Shr, Accelerator Manager
Hannah manages the flagship Accelerator at ICA, looking after the recruiting, vetting, and selection of mission-aligned businesses, as well as the delivery of high-quality services to Accelerator participants and alumni.
— Michael Jones, ICA advisor and Relationship Manager at RSF Social Finance
Michael has more than 25 years of experience in financial institutions. A Bay Area native, he helps entrepreneurs seamlessly translate their visions into an actionable financial model. Michael has worked with ICA companies since 2017, most recently with Minnie Bell's, Vegan Mob, Rocky’s Market, and Afikomen Judaica.
— Stephanie Louie, ICA advisor and founder of One10 North
Stephanie is a seasoned brand strategy professional who has a 20-year track record of growing innovative businesses. An ICA supporter since 2019, Stephanie has recently worked with ICA companies such as Down To Cook and Global Grub.