Back to the Roots Teams Up with Carmelo Anthony

Exciting news out of Oakland (and New York!):

Our very first investment company, Back to the Roots, has just teamed up with NBA All Star Carmelo Anthony to promote healthy eating in New York City schools as part of its #TakeBackBreakfast campaign! The company's cereals which come, in four flavors and feature a maximum of four ingredients, will be available to more than one million kids in the New York City school system.

We've worked with Back to the Roots since their beginning. In fact, in 2014, Fund Good Jobs was the first investor the company which last year secured a $10,000,000 Series A funding. We're extremely proud of Alejandro and Nikhil and the entire Back to the Roots team – their growth, vision, and values – and we're even more excited to see where their journey takes them.  

Growth Strategies Starts April 28th

Spring is always an exciting time at ICA Fund Good Jobs. April is the time when we get to meet the many exciting new companies that are joining us as part of our signature small business education course, Growth Strategies. The 2017 iteration of Growth Strategies kicks off at the Lorry I Lokey School of Business and Public Policy at Mills College two weeks from today, on April 28th and we can hardly wait. 

By now you probably know that the Growth Strategies, is taught by long-time entrepreneur and educator Michael C. Bush and that it offers a practical, hands-on, and actionable curriculum for local small businesses. You’ve probably heard us refer to it as the “entry point to the ICA Fund Good Jobs network” or as a “mini-MBA” for entrepreneurs. So this time, we want to tell you a bit about some of the companies in this year’s cohort. 

Last year, the 2016 Growth Strategies cohort created and retained over 400 jobs and saw job growth increase, year over year, by close to 70%. 
Michael C. Bush teaches Growth Strategies.

Michael C. Bush teaches Growth Strategies.

There are around 50 companies joining Growth Strategies 2017, spanning a variety of industries, headquartered in a over a dozen Bay Area cities. Together companies like Apprenta, Civil Pops, Yahshi Bakes, and Courtsmith Basketball Industries, to name a few are projecting to create over hundreds of jobs. 

Growth Strategies is an integral part of our mission to educate, accelerate, and invest in local small businesses. In fact, all of the Seed Fund and Accelerator companies have gone through ICA Fund Good Jobs Education And this year, Good Jobs Accelerator companies like 4505 Meats and EBY Construction will be sending leaders from their teams to join the series. 

We look forward to keeping you up-to-date on this year’s cohort, and you can always learn more by checking out our upcoming Impact Report, and stay connected by following us social media! 

Check out this video by Growth Strategies 2017 company Courtsmith Industries.

Good Jobs Accelerator Reaches Midpoint

This past week, entrepreneurs, advisors, and partners in the 2016 Good Jobs Accelerated gathered for a half-day work session at the beautiful OMI Gallery at Impact HUB Oakland. 

The intensive event, led by Good Jobs Accelerator Manager, Dianna Tate, was designed to allow all of the business owners in this year's Accelerator to share, learn from, and listen to each other's experience. At the start of the morning, each entrepreneur presented a twitter-length introduction of her or his business and a brief summary of her learnings to date. 

Joined by strategic advisors and a couple of Good Jobs Accelerator partners, the entrepreneurs then had the opportunity to discuss their successes, leading concerns, and make plans for the future. Below are some snapshots from the work session.

Three ICA Fund Good Jobs Companies in the News!

The ICA Fund Good Jobs network spans many industries and includes all types of companies. Case in point, the companies featured in the news this week. From bringing top-notch affordable music education, to making amazing locally-baked home-made breads, to artisanal sweets made by a former banker, here are three ICA Fund Good Jobs companies that made headlines:  

1. Reem's – "Leavening the Resistance: Reem's Brings Traditional Arab Bakery to Oakland's Fruitvale"

First, read about Good Jobs Accelerator company Reem's. Reem's run by Reem Assil is an an "Arab street food" bakery, and is currently in the process of securing a new location in Oakland's Fruitvale. Accelerator Company Reem's. Reem, who's opening a new location in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood talks with the East Bay Express about how her past as a community organizer informs her current work and why "bread is more important then ever". Read the entire article here.

2. Oakland Public Conservatory of Music – "From Kansas City to Oakland, passing on a musical legacy"

Next, check out a great and in-depth interview with Angela Wellman, founder of the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, a Growth Strategies Graduate. In the KALW interview, Angela talks about her Kansas City roots and her mission of bringing top-notch music education to Oakland. Listen to the whole story here. 

3. CC Made – "Meet the former banker who became Berkeley’s best brittle maker"

Last but not least is a great profile from the San Francisco Chronicle featuring Cassandra Chen's CC Made, a Good Jobs Accelerator company. In it, Cassandra talks about her roots, her past as a banker, and about her learnings as an entrepreneur. PS – her sweet and savory brittles are amazing! Read on here. 

Any stories we missed? Tell us about them on Facebook!

NewCo comes to Town

On a rainy and gray Oakland morning, ICA Fund Good Jobs welcomed close to 40 curious and excited visitors as part of the NewCo Bay Area Festival! ICA Fund Good Jobs was one of dozens of local companies that welcomed visitors for a behind-the-scenes look at our work. 

NewCo attendees gather at ICA Fund Good Jobs headquarters in Downtown Oakland.

NewCo attendees gather at ICA Fund Good Jobs headquarters in Downtown Oakland.

Our morning kicked off with a welcome from our Accelerator Manager, Dianna Tate who led a round of introductions from the entire team and from our visitors. In true ICA Fund Good Jobs fashion we asked each visitor for a "Twitter-length" introduction as well as one word that comes to mind when thinking of a good job. The group obliged and came up with some inspiring descriptors for what makes a good job, including: positivity, meaning, impact, creativity and curiosity. 

Managing Director of Entrepreneur Services, Ingrid Jacobson, shares our work with NewCo attendees. 

Managing Director of Entrepreneur Services, Ingrid Jacobson, shares our work with NewCo attendees. 

After a brief overview of how we Educate, Accelerate and Invest in good job creating businesses, Nina Robinson, Senior Portfolio Manager, led a tour of three local ICA Fund Good Jobs Portfolio Companies.

Kori Chen of Red Bay Coffee shares the company's work with NewCo attendees. 

Kori Chen of Red Bay Coffee shares the company's work with NewCo attendees. 

The first stop: the Red Bay Coffee Box at the HIVE. Red Bay Coffee is an East Oakland based roastery that sells coffee beans to local restaurants, hotels, companies like Salesforce and Uber, as well as through Whole Foods and a worker cooperative cafe, The Coffee Box. At the Box we were welcomed by Kori Chen, a long time employee and manager of Red Bay's retail operations. Kori shared Red Bay's philosophy, its profit sharing model, and vision of scaling its worker-owned cafes. 

NewCo Bay attendees listen to Kori Chen of Red Bay Coffee. 

NewCo Bay attendees listen to Kori Chen of Red Bay Coffee. 

The next stop was Firebrand Artisan Breads where co-owner and founder, Matt Kreutz, described our partnership which has allowed Firebrand to effectively triple its workforce and his love for baking bread, telling everyone that his love for baking started at the young age of 12. "I've always know what I wanted to do", Matt said. 

Matt Kreutz co-owner of Firebrand Artisan Breads talks with NewCo attendees. 

Matt Kreutz co-owner of Firebrand Artisan Breads talks with NewCo attendees. 

After taking in the modern vibe of Firebrand's retail operation, the group continued down the street to Impact HUB Oakland. There Impact HUB co-founder, Konda Mason welcomed the group, and talked about a variety of topics ranging from the company's commitment to good jobs (a key tenet of our investment), its work with local startups, and how a sense of community fosters productivity and good work. 

Konda Mason, co-founder of Impact HUB Oakland shares the HUB's story. 

Konda Mason, co-founder of Impact HUB Oakland shares the HUB's story. 

Our NewCo session concluded at the Impact HUB. As the attendees left to continue on their NewCo tours of local companies, Growth Strategies flyers and Impact HUB day passes in hand, the ICA Fund Good Jobs team was left greatly impressed by the NewCo experience.

NewCo exemplifies not only a great opportunity for networking and idea-sharing, it's also a great way to connect business and community, and that is something we certainly stand behind. Needless to say, we look forward to next year's conference. 


Did you take part in NewCo today? Did you join us at our office? Share your impressions and tell us about your experience in the comments. And if you haven't already, check out this great list of special offers from NewCo participating companies. 

What does a good job mean to you?

In November 2016 we celebrated our 20th Anniversary with over a thousand of our friends, funders, and supporters from the local community. In 20 years we've worked with hundreds of small businesses and helped create more than 5,000 jobs for local residents. But in an effort to understand the real impact of good jobs, we asked Bay Area residents at our 20/20 event to tell us what a good job means to them. Here's what they said.

Growth Strategies is back for 2017! 

Last year, more than 60 entrepreneurs attended our signature Growth Strategies course taught by entrepreneur, mentor, and CEO, Michael C. Bush. Growth Strategies is not only a proven framework to grow your business, it is also the entry point to the ICA Fund Good Jobs network. And classes start on April 21st. 

Applications are open now! So if you're a business owner or know anyone who would like to think more strategically about their business, now is the time to apply: 


"A definition is good, but it’s not enough"

Our CEO, Sean Daniel Murphy recently sat down with to discuss how ICA Fund Good Jobs is leading the way on the good jobs creation front and what good jobs really mean in the Bay Area.

For the article, Sean and Jose Corona (ICA Fund Good Jobs CEO from 2005 to 2015) talked with Next City's Oscar Abello about our investments, our leadership in the CDFI community, and our work to go beyond a good jobs definition. Read the article over by clicking the link below. 
Read the article here.

Visit us next week as part of NewCo Bay Area!

Next week, join us as we open our doors, along with dozens of the most dynamic local companies, to celebrate the NewCo Bay Area festivalCompanies across the East Bay are welcoming visitors to showcase their work and there are a few spots left to join our session on February 7th!

When you join us, you'll get a behind-the-scenes look at our work, a tour of three of Oakland’s most innovative start-ups, and the opportunity to see the inner workings of the nation's only investment fund explicitly dedicated to the creation of good jobs. Join us.
Get registered.

Donate to ICA Fund Good Jobs, make a fashion statement.

When you donate to ICA Fund Good Jobs at the link below you'll get a free Fund good jobs. statement hoodie or teeshirt as a gift for your support.

It's a win-win: with your donation we create more good jobs while you look good in your USA-made, super comfortable, statement teeshirt or hoodie. Give today, and we'll send you yours tomorrow! 
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