Entrepreneurs creating community-focused impact

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Sydney Arkin, Founder of Bad Walter’s Ice Cream: Sydney is the creative force behind Bad Walter’s Ice Cream, an ultra-premium, lactose-free ice cream shop offering one-of-a-kind flavors. We can’t wait to visit the brick-and-mortar location in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, slated to open in late spring. What sets Bad Walter’s apart is its commitment to both manufacturing in-house and hiring locally to create and serve its unique lactose-free products.

Amirh Davis, Founder of Pillar Cowork and Childcare: We're excited to announce a follow-on investment in Amirh Davis, the founder Pillar Cowork and Childcare. This unique coworking space puts working parents at the center of its design. After utilizing our first round of funding to make ADA updates to the space and expand revenues, Amirh will now use this latest funding to invest in increased marketing and sales activities.

Mike Mitchell, Founder of Pezzy Pets: Mike's mission with Pezzy Pets is as unique as it is impactful. Pezzy Pets is a pet food company with a sustainable mission, exclusively using invasive fish species like lionfish and Mexican devil fish in their products. By doing so, they not only create jobs for individuals to catch these invasive species but also contribute to improving ocean habitats. With the seed capital from ICA Fund, Pezzy Pets plans to scale production and release revamped packaging.

About the ICA Seed Fund: The ICA Seed Fund is our initiative for emerging entrepreneurs with check sizes up to $50K, providing the boost they need to grow. This funding opportunity is exclusively available to founders who have completed either track of our 12-week Accelerator program. The ICA Fund Accelerator helps entrepreneurs strengthen their business models, stabilize operations, and prepare for capital. Applications for the 2024 cohort are currently open, through March 17. Learn more and apply here.

“Being introduced to ICA was a treat because we had been running up against all kinds of issues, and coming to a space where there were people who wanted to help us was surprising. As a small business owner, you don’t know these things — you just know the business that you're trying to run.”

- Amirh Davis, Founder of Pillar Cowork and Childcare.

Read our Q+A with Amirh after her first investment.

Supporting Main Street Businesses: At ICA Fund, we recognize the importance of providing debt-free funding to Main Street businesses, especially those led by women and founders of color. Unlike traditional venture capital models that demand profit at all costs, our approach allows entrepreneurs to continue investing in their businesses during critical growth periods. By prioritizing underserved demographics and focusing on creating sustainable impact, we aim to contribute to the vitality of local economies.

"I’d always appreciated small business as a consumer, but it wasn’t until I became a small business owner myself that I really got to see how vital small business is to the lifeblood and ethos of a place. It’s really cool to be a part of it and see what you can provide for a community, in the sense of jobs, but also relationships, companionships. We’re not some big company, and we have the opportunity to make this place really special."
-Sydney Arkin, Founder of Bad Walter’s  

Celebrating Diversity and Impact: ICA Fund's investment model is designed to empower entrepreneurs with debt-free financing and the opportunity to recover equity as they meet social impact milestones through the ICA Impact Note. An increasing area of focus for our portfolio is sustainability, and at ICA, it’s important for us to find ways to contribute to sustainable business in a way that stays true to our core mission to create good jobs, prioritize underserved founders, and foster impact on a local scale.

“Climate science tells us that sustainable protein is at the top of urgent climate solutions. I believe in this product because creating a market for invasive fish products is such a straight-forward win-win. We don’t need to go into a lab or design something new. By creating a financial incentive for invasive fish species, we’re creating good local jobs in our partner communities in Mexico, the US and across Central America, and removing invasive species from ocean habitats. It’s simple and works — we just need to grow the market and pet food is the perfect place to start.”
- Mike Mitchell, Founder of Pezzy Pets

Congratulations to Sydney, Amirh, and Mike! To stay connected with their businesses and learn more, please visit their websites below:

About ICA Fund: ICA Fund accelerates great businesses through mentoring and investments to close the racial and gender wealth gaps. We support small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area led by founders of color and women by providing capital, coaching, and connections. ICA Fund helps entrepreneurs grow the value of their businesses and create wealth for themselves and their employees, driving toward our vision of an economy that works for all. ica.fund

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