Earlier this month, ICA CEO, Allison Kelly joined a group of community leaders, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and investors to discuss the role of Small Businesses in the Opportunity Zones (OZ) conversation. The convening, held at The Enterprise Center in Philadelphia.
“Small business can be used as a social good, generating good jobs, infrastructure, ownership, and wealth,” said Democratic Congressman Dwight Evans. While the conversation was at times very Philadelphia-centric, the national implications of the new Opportunity Zone legislature was a big topic of conversation.
The over 50 leaders in attendance talked about the unique ability of small businesses to create wealth for entrepreneurs of color and women, as well as how Opportunity Zones can catalyze investment in these businesses.
“We need to align investor expectations and timelines with actual community needs and expectations. Our [traditional] timeframe with returns is extractive. If we want to create value, it takes time.
— Allison Kelly
While much of the national OZ conversation has revolved around real estate investment, ICA’s Allison Kelly believes that the ICA model of investing in dynamic small businesses poised to create community wealth can be an effective and potent partner for those looking to take advantage of OZ incentives.
Indeed, one of the key points of discussion at the convening was the role of real estate development groups as partners for OZ small business investment. Read more in a press release from the Economic Equity Network here.