In 2019, ICA reaffirmed and recommitted to our values – Entrepreneurship, Inclusion, Hustle, Belonging, and Accountability – as we welcomed new leadership and doubled down on 20+ years of impact.
And good thing, because 2020 sure was unexpected! As we look to the road ahead, I’m asking myself two questions:
1 — We know that the financial system fails too many people, but how do we create new, more equitable rules to drive systems-level change?
2 — How do we let go of a status quo that doesn’t serve us and instead embrace our values, trusting they will guide us to a better place? How do we ask our partners – our funders, our investors, our clients – to join us in a new way of doing business?
To achieve our vision of an economy that works for all, ICA is reimagining ways to underwrite risk in small business lending. It’s something we’re pretty good at, as ICA has demonstrated with our strong nearly 25-year track record. We can assess risk through business cash flow and enterprise value, not credit score and collateral. These are more equitable, accessible, and reliable measures of business performance and risk. It’s a way to differentiate real risk from perceived risk. We can do it with ICA companies, but our goal is to get more capital providers to follow us. It’s a long-game towards the world we envision.
We’re investing in our team, bringing in the staffing, resources, and structure to support our ambitious goals. In 2019, along with me, we welcomed Hannah Shr, Lovely Abordo and Gwyneth Galbraith to our team and in 2020, we’ll add to our Investment team to ensure we can accelerate our investing scope and reach. With belonging, inclusion, and accountability as three of our core values, we will strive to further diversify our board. In 2019, we welcomed Mona Masri, Sarah Halpern and Penina Goodman to our Board, each bringing new talents, experience, and perspectives to accelerate our mission. In 2020, we’ll continue to recruit board members, as well as staff, with diverse backgrounds and experiences that can shape our work and add to our impact.
The urgency of our work requires us to think big. We are raising a new $10M fund to deploy to great companies in our community that have the potential to create wealth for themselves and their employees, but need the capital to do it. We have businesses waiting for investments. We have to raise capital to meet this moment, embracing the opportunity to show up and be bold.