In passing conversation, in headlines, and everywhere we hear repeatedly how unprecedented, difficult, and seemingly never-ending 2020 has been. Across the US, people have come together to face the challenge. We are grateful for the relentless efforts of our first responders, teachers, and countless essential workers. Yet we are deeply saddened to see so many in our communities face economic devastation.
Back in March, the ICA team quickly realized that our small businesses needed immediate relief from the economic crisis, and that our deep knowledge of our companies uniquely positioned us to provide it. ICA’s proven approach to acceleration would help our companies scale but what they needed right now was support stabilizing and surviving.
We launched two new products to provide immediate support our companies were seeking: a zero-interest loan to provide fast, emergency capital for companies affected by the pandemic and a new accelerator program focused on helping entrepreneurs build long-term resilience into their companies. Combined with our existing coaching and capital access programs, these new products provided intensive support to over 70 businesses in the 9 county Bay Area in 2020.
Small businesses owners are some of the most resilient people in our communities. They are accustomed to working around obstacles and challenges.Now, facing new constraints that were unimaginable a few months ago, they are meeting the moment. Take, Delicious Catering. A corporate caterer, Delicious Catering, saw its revenues cut drastically, practically overnight. Instead of folding up shop, or just sitting back and waiting, Founder Jan pivoted her business and created a whole new way of catering events through virtual delivery. Or take Reem’s, Minnie Bell’s, or Progeny Coffee highlighted in our Impact report – all of ICA’s entrepreneurs met the moment head-on. We continue to be inspired by their resilience.
Like you, we are ready to see the end of 2020. And we have ambitious goals for 2021! We will focus our efforts to sustain and grow our work to accelerate great businesses to meet the evolving needs that have been created in our economy by this devastating pandemic.
In 2021, ICA will build our new $10 million Growth Capital fund, investing in local small businesses by providing access to equity capital to drive growth. We will launch two new cohorts of the ICA Accelerator, and add new accelerator programs to support businesses at different stages of growth. Above all, we will pursue our mission in service of our vision to build an economy that works for all.