Sean Murphy Selected as Aspen Institute Fellow

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I am proud to announce that I have been selected as a Job Quality Fellow by the Aspen Institute. I deeply appreciate the Aspen Institute's intention and focus on the topic of good jobs. 

Good Jobs have been at the core of our organization for over 20 years, and I have had the great privilege of leading our efforts to invest in and support high-potential, good job-creating businesses. We have funded these businesses not only to create good jobs, but also to improve the health, wealth, and happiness of their employees and their families. 

I’m extremely grateful to the Aspen Institute for bringing the good jobs conversation to a national platform. 

However, I also recognize that simply discussing job quality is not enough. Today, we must address the growing pace of disparity across our nation head on. It's not just about being able to pay the bills or visit the doctor. It's about having the economic freedom to make choices, take risks, and pursue a rewarding life for you and your family.

However, I also recognize that simply discussing job quality is not enough. 

And so my hope for the Quality Jobs Fellowship at the Aspen Institute is that we keep an eye on the freedom that good jobs can lead to. I hope my fellows and I will commit to sharing real-time insights and solutions, listen to the needs of the various constituents we serve, and mobilize together to truly lift up our communities.   

Personally, I’m not interested in thought leadership. I'm interested in bridging gaps and getting smarter to meet the needs of small businesses so they can benefit our communities. I have the honor of pursuing my work in Oakland, a Town built on a history of relentlessly addressing society’s toughest problems.

Oakland is our innovation lab, and our hard-earned lessons can be a platform upon which we can build a national movement. 

In the words of Marshawn Lynch, I look forward to bringing a perspective that is all “about that action” to this fellowship. 

{{ To read more about the Job Quality Fellowship and to meet all of the fellows, click here. }}


Gratefully,

– Sean Daniel Murphy

– Sean Daniel Murphy

Reign Free of the Red Door Catering featured in the San Francisco Chronicle

Reign Free, Founder and CEO of the Red Door Catering. Photos by Mason Trinica, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Reign Free, Founder and CEO of the Red Door CateringPhotos by Mason Trinica, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle.

I want to be a business owner, I don’t just want to create a job for myself
— Reign Free
Workers at the Red Door Catering headquarters in West Oakland. Photos by Mason Trinica, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Workers at the Red Door Catering headquarters in West Oakland. Photos by Mason Trinica, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Reign Free, founder and CEO of the The Red Door, a catering company in the Good Jobs Accelerator based in West Oakland was recently featured in an expansive piece in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the article, written by Jonathan Kauffman, Reign talks about shares her fasinating path to owning a business, how she views herself in the Oakland community, and talks about her growth as a leader.

It's a great read and Reign's story as an inspiring one. Read more below and be sure to check out the great photos too.

Matt Kreutz and his Firebrand bakery "empire" featured in the SF Business Times

Matt Kreutz in front of his Downtown Oakland bakery. Photo credit: SF Business Times. 

Matt Kreutz in front of his Downtown Oakland bakery. Photo credit: SF Business Times. 

Matt Kreutz, founder and owner of Firebrand Artisan Breads, was recently featured in the San Francisco Business Times. Firebrand is one ICA Fund Good Jobs' seed investment companies.

In the interview, published in print and online today, Matt talks about founding Firebrand almost 10 years ago, and about what it takes to grow a successful business in Oakland. He touches on the challenges of living the entrepreneur lifestyle, the meaning of business success, and his vision for continued growth. 

I want to raise the wages here to be at least one or two dollars higher on average. [...] I want to move the business into doing more hiring for people with barriers to employment.
— Matt Kreutz (in conversation with SF Business Times)

But the most inspiring part of the article features what Matt still wants to accomplish, which is to continue creating good jobs. Matt is determined to provide his workers (now numbering more than 75) with higher wages, increase his community impact, and do more to hire people with barriers to employment.

All goals we can get behind! 

Read the rest of this article on the San Francisco Business Time website or download a PDF here. To read more about our work with Firebrand and about their growth, mission, and commitment to good jobs, check out our 2017 Impact Report.

A day of Hands-on Capital Advising at Path 2 Cash 2017

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Rob Davenport, Path 2 Cash 2017 advisor. 

Rob Davenport, Path 2 Cash 2017 advisor. 

Dozens of local entrepreneurs recently gathered at the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College, to receive hands-on, tailored advice on how to access capital and grow their businesses. On July 12, 54 entrepreneurs were paired with expert financial advisors to participate in our one-day educational workshop, called Path 2 Cash.

Path 2 Cash is designed to help entrepreneurs understand the different types of financing that are available to small businesses, which type of capital may be the most appropriate for them, and what it takes to secure different kinds of financing.

Path 2 Cash catapults your knowledge and takes you to the next level of understanding in your business
— Ernest Nee-Nueh Nortey, Kube Nice Cream
Path 2 Cash 2017 in Session at Mills College. 

Path 2 Cash 2017 in Session at Mills College. 

Over the course of two hours, entrepreneurs had the opportunity to take a deep dive into their financial statements and growth strategy, in order to identify where they are on the Path 2 Cash. Each entrepreneur left the session with practical action steps to take toward securing a loan or equity financing for their business.

“Path 2 Cash catapults your knowledge and takes you to the next level of understanding in your business,” said Ernest Nee-Nueh Nortey, President and Co-Founder of Kube Nice Cream, a company that produces frozen desserts from raw coconut cream. “We have action steps we can take advantage of this afternoon, that we can build on right now.”

Path 2 Cash is made possible by the support of several sponsors and partners, including New Resource Bank, Community Bank of the Bay, Working Solutions, and Beneficial State Bank. Additionally, our pro bono advisors are critical for delivering these highly valuable programs for entrepreneurs.

For Path 2 Cash, all advisors were financial experts, including bankers, investors, attorneys and tax professionals. Advisors prepared for the sessions in advance, and came prepared to ask thoughtful questions and contribute toward solutions for the entrepreneurs.

“My advisor was attentive, detailed, and offered great, direct feedback. She checked in with how I felt about the suggestions,” said Elizabeth Foggie, Founder, CEO and Director of People’s Studio, an interdisciplinary arts lab and media production company. “I feel 1000 times more prepared now than before I arrived.”

ICA Fund Good Jobs is committed to providing high-quality education, advice and resources that entrepreneurs can use to strengthen their businesses immediately, in the pursuit of creating good jobs.

It's a Wrap – celebrating at the last Growth Strategies class of 2017!

Growth Strategies 2017 wrapped today!

It's hard to believe it's already been 10 weeks and that we're done for the summer. It's been a great year – filled with great energy, inspiring entrepreneurs, and amazing business ideas. We can't wait to watch your businesses grow! 

Up next: Path 2 Cash, our one-day financial advising workshop for business seeking capital in the next year. Look below for an opportunity to stay in touch by email.  

Here's to growing good businesses, good jobs, and a great summer!

Thank you to Chef Chew of the Veg Hub and all of the other entrepreneurs who shared their delicious snacks today! 

Thank you to Chef Chew of the Veg Hub and all of the other entrepreneurs who shared their delicious snacks today! 

And to all of the entrepreneurs in our class: we'll be in touch!

Look for an opportunity to celebrate at the end of the summer. We're excited to watch you grow and want to stay connected with you. And in the meantime scroll down to check out some photos from this morning's celebration and join our mailing list so you never miss any news.

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Advising Matchmaking: behind the scenes with Path 2 Cash 


Path 2 cash, our one-on-one advising workshop for capital-seeking businesses is almost here. 

Behind the scenes during Path 2 Cash selection time. 

Behind the scenes during Path 2 Cash selection time. 

This year’s cohort is bigger than ever, featuring over 50 entrepreneurs and 25 hand-picked advisors. While Path 2 Cash is a one-day, half-day session hosted at the Mills College Lorry I Lokey School of Business and Public Policy, the preparation involved in creating and hosting the session takes is a many-week process.  

Here’s how it happens: 
After receiving many online applications to Path 2 Cash through our online portal, the Entrepreneur Services team sorts, organizes, and categorizes the applicants by need, industry, business size, along with a few other metrics. The team, aided by our two MBA fellows, evaluates each company, strategizes on the best opportunities for advisor engagement, and make a short list of accepted companies, their needs, and potential advisor matches. 

There’s an advisor for that; the matchmaking process is the way ICA Fund Good Jobs companeis get the support they need.

Baba Afolabi talks with Ingrid Jacobson at Path 2 Cash 2016. 

Baba Afolabi talks with Ingrid Jacobson at Path 2 Cash 2016. 

Our advisors really meet the entrepreneurs where they’re at. Raising capital is complicated, and everyone’s needs are different.
— Nina Robinson, Senior Program Manager
Chinwe Onyeagoro at Path 2 Cash 2016. 

Chinwe Onyeagoro at Path 2 Cash 2016. 

Path 2 Cash participants are companies that are looking to secure capital within the next 12 months and that demonstrate a commitment to the creation of good jobs. But their specific needs diverge greatly. Some companies are looking for ways to speak more clearly about their business by the numbers, and others are looking to identify the best types of capital for their business stage. Others still have a clear path towards investment but need support on compiling and presenting the right type of financial documents. 

“Our advisors really meet the entrepreneurs where they’re at. Raising capital is complicated, and everyone’s needs are different.” says Nina Robinson. Our advisors are hand-picked by our team to match the needs of our entrepreneurs and to provide expertise relevant to their industries.  

The team organizes a series of conversations with the entrepreneurs before the Path 2 Cash session to dive in to the issues they need most help with. Relying on an amazing network of talented advisors, to provide realtime, practical, and actionable advice. 

The end goal is that when Path 2 Cash happens on July 12th, the entrepreneur and advisors know each other. The entrepreneurs are able to vocalize their needs, and the advisors have an intimate understanding of the small businesses they are supporting. 

And the rest happens at Path 2 Cash.