The deadline is fast approaching for Florida business owners who want to apply to participate in a no-cost business education program that Regions Bank and community partners are bringing to the Tampa Bay area.
The program is called Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC). Through ICCC, business owners in or near urban or economically underserved communities can receive free financial education, business training and one-on-one coaching to help strengthen their companies.
Likened to a “mini MBA on steroids,” ICCC education is provided by experts from Harvard Business School, the University of Illinois-Chicago’s College of Business Administration and other leaders in the fields of marketing, finance and more. Customized coaching is delivered by local business professionals whose expertise can help small businesses develop strategies to reach more customers and, over time, create more jobs and further strengthen the surrounding area.
The deadline for business owners to apply to participate in ICCC is Friday, July 14.
Those who are accepted into the program will be invited to participate in a high-impact executive education conference scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 13 at the University of South Florida’s CAMLS facility in downtown Tampa. Further, ICCC offers follow-up webinars and a national ICCC conference to eligible companies – all cost-free.
“People are excited about this opportunity, and we’re seeing business owners from across the Tampa Bay region applying to participate,” said Marty Lanahan, West Florida Area President for Regions Bank. “It’s important for all additional business owners who are interested to apply now while we still have space available. We see what ICCC is accomplishing for entrepreneurs across the country, and we want as many companies as possible in Tampa, St. Petersburg and surrounding communities to have access to these resources that are here to help them grow.”
Experts scheduled to participate in the Sept. 13 ICCC Tampa Bay event include Harvard Business School Professor Steven Rogers, a leading educator who helps small-business owners tap into their potential for growth.
“For business owners to truly succeed, they have to be what I call ‘learned entrepreneurs,’” Rogers said. “The key is, for the rest of your life, embrace continuing education. Opportunities such as the one presented by ICCC will connect business owners with strategies, tactics and insights designed to increase your chances for success.”
Also scheduled to participate is Susan Perkins of the University of Illinois-Chicago. Perkins’ areas of focus include business strategy, governance and more. Additional experts will address topics such as marketing, entrepreneurial finance, debt and equity finance, components of an investor pitch, valuation methodologies and more.
ICCC is offered at no cost to participants due to financial support provided by Regions and community partners that joined the bank in bringing ICCC to Florida for the first time in the program’s history. Community partners include Florida Blue, Carlton Fields, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Ernst & Young, United Way Suncoast, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and Valpak.
ICCC is part of the nonprofit Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, which was founded by Harvard Business School Professor Dr. Michael Porter to strengthen communities through education and private-sector investment.
Director Hyacinth Vassell said since 2005, representatives of more than 1,100 businesses have participated in ICCC events across the country. Those businesses have since raised more than $1.4 billion to grow their businesses – while creating approximately 12,000 jobs. Vassell said Tampa Bay-area business owners would come away from this year’s program with a deeper knowledge of the steps they can follow to build on their success.
“They’ll have a better understanding of how to grow their business more effectively,” Vassell said. “They will be more intentional about their growth. They will be more thoughtful about capital infusion. So we’ll be seeing a lot more businesses that are going to be getting wealth creation and job creation happening.”
Interested business owners can apply directly through the ICCC website – www.iccapitalconnections.org. From the home page, visitors can select the “Tampa Bay” section to learn more about the program and access the online application.
Companies selected by ICCC are growth-oriented businesses that have their headquarters or more than 51 percent of their physical operations in or near an urban or economically underserved area. Companies may also participate if more than 40 percent of their employees reside in an economically underserved area.
The ICCC Tampa Bay event is open to applicants on all sides of Tampa Bay – as well as along the Interstates 4 and 75 corridors in Central and Southwest Florida.
“The July 14th application deadline is almost here,” Lanahan added. “This is a program that brings a world of education and training directly to local business owners – free of charge. So there’s no reason not to apply.”