ICA – Grantee

ICA is a nationally-recognized nonprofit on a mission to close the racial and gender wealth gaps by accelerating great Bay Area small businesses

ICA provides an interconnected continuum of support to help entrepreneurs grow the value of their businesses and create wealth for themselves and their employees. To date, ICA has provided capital, coaching, and connections to more than 600 entrepreneurs throughout the region. Over the past 24 years, these entrepreneurs have secured over $300MM in outside funding, created and retained over 6,000 jobs, and paid over $1BB in wages in local communities. 75% of ICA’s companies are led by entrepreneurs of color and/or women entrepreneurs. These business leaders are creating good jobs in their communities: in 2019, ICA’s companies paid an average hourly wage of $25.75 and 71% of companies offered health benefits.. 

Since joining the organization in 2019 CEO, Allison Kelly has doubled down on ICA’s commitment to small businesses. Under Kelly’s leadership, ICA introduced a reimagined mission and vision which speak explicitly to the organization’s focus on racial and gender equity; grown the team by 25%, and launched two programs specifically designed to serve small business clients during unprecedented disruptions.

As the pandemic hit in the spring, ICA quickly responded by launching the Rapid Response Liquidity Fund which provides 0%-interest loans to address the urgent liquidity needs of small businesses. The Fund was greatly bolstered by a $1 million grant from the eBay Foundation to support struggling businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Since launching on March 20th, ICA has deployed over $800,000 to 20 companies, nearly 90% of which are owned by people of color. By bridging cash gaps, these loans are helping businesses stabilize their operations, preserve local jobs, make investments to adapt and pivot their businesses (such as expanding online order capabilities), and position themselves for sustainable growth in the longer term.

ICA knows that capital is only one part of the solution; coaching and connections are critical if we are to truly set up our businesses for success. Thanks to a partnership with Kaiser Permanente, ICA recently held the Resilience Lab Accelerator, a new program designed to address the impact of economic disruptions by strengthening the long-term resilience of businesses through intensive, hands-on technical support. 

ICA’s support doesn’t end at financing and acceleration. The organization also launched The ICA Marketplace, an online portal where shoppers can connect with and directly support the many companies with which ICA works. 

Looking ahead, ICA knows that small business success is a journey and we are there to support our companies at every step of the way. Through a collaborative and deeply integrated approach, ICA is launching a new $10MM investment fund and continuing to grow its program offerings, to invest in and grow local small businesses that are owned and employ women and people of color. 

ICA continues to provide the coaching, connections, and access to capital Bay Area entrepreneurs need and looks to ongoing growth thanks to SV2’s continued support. 

 “SV2’s mission to build lasting connections and support innovative solutions to the Bay Area’s problems are a perfect match for our strategy of investing in underestimated entrepreneurs who have the power to transform their communities,” says Allison Kelly, CEO. 

SV2 Advisors JoAnne Tillemans and Bill Brownell have worked to promote ICA Accelerator events in the funding community, and have been important supporters and advisors to ICA’s work.