ICA Fund Good Jobs, an intern's perspective.

by Claudia Reyes, ICA Fund Good Jobs 2017-2018 intern

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ICA Cristo Rey Academy is an all-girls high school that has a distinct program called the Corporate Work Study Program which gives every girl at ICA Cristo Rey Academy the opportunity to work as an intern throughout their four years of high school. The Corporate Work Study Program is unique because it allows all the young women at ICA Cristo Rey Academy to gain work experience without missing any classes. ICA Cristo Rey Academy partners with many sponsors, including ICA Fund Good Jobs, to give girls at the school the incredible opportunity to go out into the work field and gain work experience that they can use in the future, all while offsetting the cost of tuition. All the students at ICA Cristo Rey Academy work five days a month at a job that they were assigned to at the beginning of the school year, and I was fortunate enough to be placed at ICA Fund Good Jobs for my junior year.

 From letft: Dianna Tremblay, Michelle Nalerio, Claudia Reyes, and Caron Gugssa-Howard.

From letft: Dianna Tremblay, Michelle Nalerio, Claudia Reyes, and Caron Gugssa-Howard.

Prior to working at ICA Fund Good Jobs, in my sophomore year I interned at a much bigger office. Transitioning to working in a  smaller setting was difficult at first because I went from having my own desk and room to working in a communal office space and working at a table in the middle of the room. I adjusted quickly to this and it was great that I got the opportunity to work in an office environment that I was not used to, since it’s good to have new experiences. I also had to adjust to working with fewer coworkers. I went from having thirty plus coworkers to only having about ten at ICA Fund Good Jobs. Having only a few coworkers was good though because it gave me the opportunity to become comfortable with them and get to know them quickly. The family atmosphere in the office also made it easier to adapt to working in a new setting because everyone in the office was kind to me and always treated me as one of their coworkers rather than a temporary intern.

Overall, I have had a very positive experience working my junior year at ICA Fund Good Jobs. My coworkers have been very welcoming and have taken the time to train me to do the tasks that they assigned me to do. I like that I was given a considerable amount of responsibility and I was able to learn a lot of new things, like using the Salesforce database and Google applications. I was made to feel like the work I was doing mattered since I was given due dates and the work that I did in Google Sheets was oftentimes used and edited by other coworkers later on. The people I have worked with have also made my work experience great because they have been very kind to me and have taken the time to train me with tasks I wasn’t familiar with.

I am grateful that I have gotten the opportunity to work at an amazing company like ICA Fund Good Jobs because the skills I have learned can be used anywhere I go and it’s not as if they can only be applied to nonprofit related jobs, so I am appreciative of the skills I’ve acquired from time I’ve gotten to work at ICA Fund Good Jobs.


Behind the scenes with Path 2 Cash – advisor matchmaking.

Path 2 cash, our one-on-one advising workshop for capital-seeking businesses is almost here. (applications are live now). While Path 2 Cash is a 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 – Caron, Michelle, Ingrid, Dianna – 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. 

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

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

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

 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. 

Path 2 Cash is one of the best examples of the power of our advising model. It’s truly our mission in action.
— Ingrid Jacobson – Managing Director, Entrepreneur Services
 Behind the scenes during Path 2 Cash selection time. 

Behind the scenes during Path 2 Cash selection time. 

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 19th, 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. 

If you are planning to raise capital in the next 12 months, you can apply to Path 2 Cash here.

Get on the path to funding your business.


Raising capital is hard.

Figuring out the path to raising capital for your small business is difficult. It can be hard to navigate all of the requirements, pitfalls, and steps you need to take to secure funding for your company.

That's where we come in:

On July 19th we are hosting our annual Path 2 Cash workshop. Path 2 Cash is high-value one-on-one advising with an experienced capital strategist that will allow you to see your business from an investor's perspective.

Path 2 Cash will help you:

  • improve your chances of securing a loan or equity investment for your business
  • better understand your capital need
  • understand the steps you need to take to raise capital to grow your company

How to get started:

Visit the Path 2 Cash homepage and fill out the application. The application takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. The Entrepreneur Services team will evaluate your application and get back to you. Once accepted, we will match you with an advisor based on fit and need.

You'll then prepare a package of documents ahead of the session and your advisor will review the materials. You'll come together on July 19th for an in-depth one-on-one session.

Let's get started: p2c.icafundgoodjobs.org

Introducing Valérie Bellande, Director of Revenue and Partnerships

We’re pleased to announce that Valérie Bellande is joining the ICA Fund Good Jobs team as Director of Revenue & Partnerships. Valérie brings extensive experience in strategic fundraising, corporate social responsibility, as well an interest in social entrepreneurship and small business. We are extremely excited to welcome her to our team. 

“We’re very happy to have Valérie join the team at an important time for our organization – Valérie’s work will be critical to bringing the organizational growth and diverse funding we will need to scale our impact for years to come,” said Sean Daniel Murphy, CEO. 

Valérie was most recently a part of the Kiva.org team, where she oversaw the micro-lending organization’s corporate and foundation partnerships as Senior Business Development Manager. A graduate of Stanford and Cambridge universities, Valérie’s interest in lifting up under-resourced and under-represented communities is perfectly in line with our mission of creating economic freedom for those who need it most. 

At ICA Fund Good Jobs, Valérie will work to increase the diversity of our fundraising strategy and grow our income streams. Welcome Valerie!

Find the ICA Fund Good Jobs team at events all month:

April and May will be busy months for the ICA Fund Good Jobs team. Here are three chances for you to join us at local small business events:

April 20th: Dianna Tate hosts TED-style talk at Tech X Oak!

 Dianna Tate, Accelerator Manager at ICA Fund Good Jobs.

Dianna Tate, Accelerator Manager at ICA Fund Good Jobs.

On April 20th, our very own Dianna Tate will be speaking at Tech x Oakland. Tech x Oakland is a two-day summit for Oakland innovators of color.

Hosted by Oakland Startup Network and Black & Brown Founders, Teck X Oakland features an engaging program of tech talks, mentoring sessions, and access to vital startup resources.

Dianna will be a featured speaker during the Lighting Talks portion of the program and will share her personal connection to the ICA Fund Good Jobs story, discuss funding options, and share resources available for entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses, in a A TED-style presentation. Get tickets and read more here.


April 24th: Join Rasheed as he judges StartOut's SF Demo Day

 Rasheed Mitchell, ICA Fund Good Jobs Investment Associate

Rasheed Mitchell, ICA Fund Good Jobs Investment Associate

Startout is a national organization dedicated to fostering and developing entrepreneurship in the LGBT community and on April 24th it's hosting a San Francisco Demo Day. At the event, dozens of local entrepreneurs will be pitching their ideas, practicing presentations, and networking.

And Investment Associate, Rasheed Mitchell, will be an expert judge on the panel listening to entrepreneur presentations.

It's all happening on April 24th at Parisoma. And you can join Rasheed, fellow judges Katheline Coleman from Pipeline Angels and Alex Fayette from Sherpa Capital, as well as our friends at StartOut by registering for the Demo Day event here.

May 1st: Find Michelle at Oakland Small Business Week

 Michelle Nalerio, ICA Fund Good Jobs Education Manager.

Michelle Nalerio, ICA Fund Good Jobs Education Manager.

Oakland Small Business Week is fast approaching! The City-wide festivities kick off on April 29th and on May 1st, ICA Fund Good Jobs Education Manager, Michelle Nalerio is hosting a panel on Eliminating Barriers in the Workplace. 

Michelle will be joined by local small business owners from Smoke Berkeley and 1951 Coffee and their panel starts at 5:45PM.

The panel will cover practical advice to help entrepreneurs create an inclusive and supportive workplace for those who have historically lacked access. The workshop will cover working with workforce development organizations as well as make the broader case for good jobs and will be a great event for an entrepreneur looking to hire equitably.

Register for Small Business Week

ICA Fund Good Jobs featured in The Oakland Business Review

In an extensive interview-based piece, the Oakland Business Review has featured ICA Fund Good Jobs, our small-business mission, and our CEO, Sean Daniel Murphy. We've shared the content of the article below. 

Small Business Profiles: ICA Fund Good Jobs

Oakland-based ICA Fund Good Jobs has grown over the past two-plus decades from its original purpose and mission as Oakland Advisors, later Inner City Advisors, and now as ICA Fund Good Jobs, with a charter to serve the nine counties of the Bay Area.


With its rich, 22-year history in the city, ICA Fund Good Jobs has purposefully set forth and evolved to a greater mission, encompassing a cadre of services and offerings that are moving the needle in creating equitable communities as a nonprofit venture capital firm that supports and serves, bringing to bear very high caliber advisors to nurture high-growth small businesses. The end goal is in the creation of accessible, good jobs, and new wealth for families that need it the most by providing education, an accelerator, and the multiplier effect and impact of doing its own direct investment, which is then leveraged to raise additional capital.

ICA was perhaps best known for making connections and bringing pro-bono advisors together with businesses through early successes with Revolution Foods and Blue Bottle Coffee. The company is now part advisor, part incubator, part seed, with a focus on established businesses in the 3-5 year stage ($1-$5M), where scalability and life cycle concerns are critical, with an eye toward job creation that fosters economic freedom. 

Sean Daniel Murphy, recently named to the San Francisco Business Time's 2018 “40 Under 40” List at the age of 33, is CEO of ICA. An appealing combination of confidence and humility, Murphy gives much credit to people who have taken a chance on him. “I owe a great deal to Michael C. Bush, CEO of a Great Place to Work, who made a bet on me over 12 years ago, and introduced me to my friend and former colleague Jose Corona, now Director of Equity and Strategic Partnerships at the City of Oakland. It was Jose who first engaged me at ICA as a volunteer, and later hired me.” 

Murphy continued, “At ICA we believe investing in high potential businesses to create good jobs, new wealth, and economic freedom is our role to play, but we recognize we can’t do it alone. My personal philosophy is to “bet on people who build people,” and now, more than ever, we need everyone in the ecosystem, investors, developers, policy makers, educators, community partners, and everyone in our community to play their part.”

Mentor Michael Bush teaches a course at Mills Graduate School of Business, “where we are exposed to, and serve through our education program, a couple hundred businesses every year, and where we invite and filter through and look for the highest-growth businesses for our advisory-based accelerator. Through this process we get to know those businesses and then directly invest,” said Murphy. “It’s been twenty-two years of amazing people rolling up their sleeves for small businesses. Our lens is helping those businesses grow, then in turn, asking them to do well by the community – operating and creating good jobs with benefits, participating in the wealth and upside growth of those opportunities, and looking at how businesses can – and should – support each other in the economic ecosystem.

ICA engages with entrepreneurs, community members, and partners to broaden its network. The organization offers an education platform to teach business fundamentals, empowering entrepreneurs to stabilize and grow their businesses, combined with advising that puts business owners into a strong and diverse network with offerings of professional services, workforce development partners, and capital providers.

Murphy notes that since its founding in 1996, ICA has worked with thousands of small businesses who have generated revenues of more than $1B, and have created thousands of good jobs in furtherance of an equitable community.

"We’re really proud that we pick up the phone and talk to any business that calls us and followup with them diligently Our year-to-year direct service is about 200 companies; we’re hands on and practical in our approach. Our accelerator is a cohort model, and we are intensely involved with about 10 businesses, and even more focused of late, to just 5-7 businesses at a time.

“Fund Good Jobs is a bright light; it started out as an advisor arm, and we discovered capital is the greatest barrier to growth, so created a separate 501(c)(3) to directly take this issue on; a local family foundation in the East Bay shared a lot of their grant learnings and experiences, and became our first investor in the fund. This initial seed fund, equated to about $3M in capital, was directly invested in five East Bay businesses, and that in turn leveraged another 8x investment through attracting additional banks and other investors to participate. This is the highest and most intimate form of impact we make," Murphy said.

"Key ingredients we seek out are ambition to grow, receptivity to advice, leveraging of our direct network and the mission commitment in how well they do by people, ranging from employees and customers, to the greater community," concluded Murphy.

Read the article on the Oakland Chamber of Commerce website here