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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.