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!

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 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.

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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.

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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

Sean Daniel Murphy on Receiving 40 Under 40 and Betting on People who Bet on People

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I am honored to be recognized as a 40 under 40 leader by the San Francisco Business Times.

To me, this recognition is first and foremost a testament to everyone who supports our work at ICA Fund Good Jobs. I believe that this work starts and ends with remarkable people and the course of my leadership journey has been paved with the support of my family, friends, incredible mentors and advisors, inspiring entrepreneurs, and my dedicated staff.

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I specifically want to thank Michael C. Bush, CEO of a Great Place to Work, who took a bet on me over 12 years ago and introduced me to my friend and former colleague Jose Corona, who is 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.

I am grateful for the support of my team and my board, especially my board Co-Chairs: Jack Russi, National Managing Partner of Corporate Development at Deloitte, and Jim Harris, CEO of Olukai. As Jim reminded me early on, “with increased leadership comes increased responsibility,” and I am fortunate to have such mentors to guide my path.  

As an organization we work hard to create economic freedom for those who need it most, yet I recognize that I am accepting this award during a unique point in our country’s history, and a pivotal moment here in the greater Bay Area.

In this moment, we can choose to watch growth happen for some and celebrate traditional business success stories while others get left behind, or we can stick together, and collectively our community can show up in a powerful way for the families who need it the most.
— Sean Daniel Murphy

In this moment, we can choose to watch growth happen for some and celebrate traditional business success stories while others get left behind, or we can stick together, and collectively our community can show up in a powerful way for the families who need it the most.

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.

I look forward to meeting and working with the other awardees and making a greater impact here in the Bay Area together.'

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The San Francisco Business Times 40 Under 40 is an annual publication that "recognizes the forty most amazing, most disruptive, most decorated and most respected business leaders" under 40 years old. Read more here.

Announcing a new fund to help bridge the capital gap for entrepreneurs of color

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We're excited to share news about a new partnership to provide business owners of color greater access to capital and business assistance. We are partnering with JPMorgan Chase and two fellow Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), Working Solutions and Pacific Community Ventures, on JPMorgan Chase's Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in San Francisco. 

Investing in small businesses combats rising income inequality by creating jobs with living wages; and yet, small businesses struggle to access the capital and support they need to grow. The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund partners close that gap with a range of services designed to spur the growth, profitability, and sustainability of companies owned by people of color in San Francisco.   

Through this partnership, we aim to create a continuum of capital and consulting to support small businesses run by entrepreneurs of color. We are very excited to be part of this innovative collaborative.

Read on below for details.

Good Jobs Accelerator entrepreneur Baba Afolabi presents to fellow entrepreneurs.

There are about 46,000 small businesses in San Francisco owned by people of color, making the city one of the largest for minority entrepreneurship. The fund is designed to increase economic opportunity by providing businesses with greater access to capital and advising, thus supporting their growth, local hiring, and the creation of a more equitable economy.

Access to non-predatory, affordable capital continues to be a challenge for small businesses in San Francisco, especially for entrepreneurs of color. White entrepreneurs receive over 50% of Small Business Administration loans in San Francisco, while Latinos receive less than 7% and African-Americans barely more than 1%. Entrepreneurs of color are systematically and chronically undercapitalized which hampers their growth as well as their ability to invest in the infrastructure and key hires necessary to build strong, stable businesses.

Entrepreneurs of color are systematically and chronically undercapitalized which hampers their growth as well as their ability to invest in the infrastructure and key hires necessary to build strong, stable businesses.

Putting Capital to Work

The San Francisco Entrepreneurs of Color Fund provides local businesses with fair and affordable capital from $5,000 to $1,000,000, from start-up to scale-up. The Fund partners also offer financial advice, one-on-one mentoring, and practical business education.

Get the flyer:

   Nani and Elias of Tadu Ethiopian Kitchen in San Francisco

Nani and Elias of Tadu Ethiopian Kitchen in San Francisco

About The Entrepreneurs of Colors Fund Collaborative

Three non-profit community development financial institutions (CDFI) – Working Solutions, Pacific Community Ventures, ICA Fund Good Jobs – have come together with JPMorgan Chase to provide business owners greater access to capital and business assistance.

EOCF partners will increase access to capital and support that all businesses need. San Francisco businesses – from start-up and early-stage, to growth-stage – will have access to a range of services designed to spur the growth, profitability, and sustainability of companies owned by people of color in San Francisco. The loans and investments range from $5,000 and up. Businesses can use the capital to expand, finance equipment, address short-term cash flow needs and provide contractor lines of credit.

Read the JPMorgan Chase release here.

How to decide if you should join Growth Strategies 2018

As you may have heard, our signature course, Growth Strategies  taught by entrepreneur, CEO, and teacher, Michael C. Bush is back at the Lorry I Lokely School of Business and Public Policy at Mills College.

Growth Strategies is:

Growth Strategies is a proven framework to help entrepreneurs who are looking to scale their businesses, strategize and actualize practical solutions to lead, manage, and grow their companies. Growth Strategies is the core course of ICA Fund Good Jobs Education, whose mission is to give entrepreneurs increased decision-making power to stabilize, grow, and lead their businesses, as well as the opportunity to network with and learn from other entrepreneurs.
Who should join:

The Spring course (which begins on March 30th) is geared towards any committed entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. Ideal participants are entrepreneurs operating their own growing business with a desire to scale and with a business model that supports good local job creation.

But here are some guiding questions that can help you decide if you should apply:

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  • Are you looking to improve your business leadership skills?
  • Do you want to work through customer pricing challengers or supplier cost issues?
  • Want to find new ways to attract and retain the right customers?
  • Need support in hiring?
  • Trying to get a better handle on profitability and want to tighten operations?

If you answered "yes" to any or all of the above, then you should definitely apply!

Companies who have participated in Growth Strategies include:

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Spread the word:

If you've already taken the course or want to share it with someone else you can: