Welcome to The Neighborhood: Inner City Initiative Launching To Promote Business Development

September 24, 2012  |  

A new inner-city initiative hopes to push growth in these poor areas to new heights.The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a nonprofit research and strategy organization, announced a strategic alliance with Next Street, which provides funding and other financial services for urban enterprise, to accelerate economic development in low-income areas of U.S. cities.

ICIC claims the initiative will bring job growth. The ICIC is focused on digging into the unique dynamics of inner cities, and though there’s much to learn, the organization says much has already been gained.

“We increasingly know what works in inner city economic and business development. The challenge is implementation and scale across the country. We need to bring nonprofits and for-profits together to drive results,” said ICIC founder, Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, at the recent Inner City Economic Summit.

The two entities have worked together in the past. ICIC research helped Boston and Detroit better support new small business growth in their food industry clusters, with Next Street offering financial resources. ICIC and Next Street expect the new alliance to be up and running by January 1, 2013.

Interestingly, deeper expert analysis of the 2011 U.S. Census found some economic growth in American inner cities. Young professionals are not moving out of the cities to the suburbs with as much frequency, reports the Telegraph newspaper in the UK.  The paper attributes the trend to “young adults staying in inner cities rather than buying a house as they seek a foothold in the weak job market.” It’s likely that the trend is a temporary one.

Because younger people are staying in the cities, closer to potential employment, businesses and developers are targeting young people. However, these flickers of growing fortune need to spread farther, wider and deeper into pockets of the nation’s cities.

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