The ICA Business Institute provides foundational insights for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds, industries, and experience levels.
We have built a premier educational experience for entrepreneurs through partnerships with Michael C. Bush’s 8 Factors Business Framework, the Mills College Graduate School of Business, and Impact HUB Oakland. Offerings include a host of annual workshops and seminars, as well as our flagship Growth Strategies and Start-Up Strategies courses.
The Growth Strategies course provides practical tools that entrepreneurs can implement immediately to develop and improve their business plans. In 2014, 57 companies participated in the class. These companies employed 552 individuals and represented a variety of industries, including manufacturing, retail, construction, and food services.
The Startup Strategies course pares down the 8 Factors Framework to help early-stage entrepreneurs learn business model design and startup methodology, setting them on the path to becoming good employers. A total of 82 companies participated in 2014, the first year that the course was offered.
Business Institute courses allow ICA to get to know our entrepreneurs’ goals and challenges, while they become acquainted with our mission and expectations. Our extensive outreach and recruitment efforts have taken the ICA team to regional trade shows and networking events to speak to hundreds of Bay Area entrepreneurs about our mission and focus. As a result, we receive hundreds of applications for our Business Institute offerings every year, allowing us to screen for those select companies that have the greatest growth potential and commitment to good job creation. The entrepreneurs who are ultimately selected to participate in Business Institute courses demonstrate alignment with the ICA & Fund Good Jobs mission, have a desire to scale, and are looking for practical resources and support for their businesses. We see participants in these offerings as critical members of a community committed to creating good jobs.
Our entrepreneurs have told us that we’re on the right track. More than 95% of respondents to a 2015 course satisfaction survey stated with full confidence that they would recommend ICA to a friend or colleague. Entrepreneurs have told us that the Growth Strategies class provided “time to think strategically about my business while surrounded by people in the same boat,” and a “common dialogue [for] sharing challenges, ideas, successes that provided great motivation.” Beyond this, we heard that the Business Institute is building better business leaders. As one respondent stated:
“If you are ready to be honest with yourself as a leader and be open to transformation, take this class.”