SPRINGFIELD — The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and Fortune announced that Paragus Strategic IT was selected for the 2014 Inner City 100, a list of the fastest-growing inner-city businesses in the U.S.
This year, for the first time in the list’s 16-year history, the Inner City 100 consists of 10 fast-growing businesses from 10 industry categories: construction, manufacturing, professional services, food and beverage, retail, media and communications, software and information technology, transportation and logistics, healthcare and biotechnology, and arts, entertainment, and recreation. Applicants ranked according to revenue growth against their industry peers, as well as overall. Paragus Strategic IT ranked sixth in the software and information-technology category, and 35th overall on the list of 100.
The Inner City 100 program recognizes successful inner-city businesses and their CEOs as role models for entrepreneurship, innovative business practices, and job creation in America’s urban communities. Paragus Strategic IT, an outsourced IT-solutions business and a nonprofit that trains high-school students in IT, reported 2013 revenues of $3.54 million and a gross growth rate of 328% from 2009 to 2013. The full list of winners can be viewed at fortune.com.
The rankings for each company were announced at the Inner City 100 Awards on Oct. 16 in Boston. Preceding the awards celebration, winners attended a two-day small-business symposium designed exclusively for urban firms featuring business-management case studies presented by Harvard Business School professors, and peer-to-peer learning sessions led by CEOs of fast-growing firms.
The 2014 Inner City 100 winners represent a wide span of geography, hailing from 53 cities and 23 states. The winners grew at an average compound annual growth rate of 39% and an average gross growth rate of 336% between 2009 and 2013. Collectively, the top 100 inner-city businesses employ 8,276 people and created 5,119 new jobs between 2009 and 2013. Not only are the winners powerful job creators in their communities, they also help develop their employees — 73% provide business-skills training, and 69% provide professional-development training to all full-time employees.
“It’s important to recognize businesses like Paragus Strategic IT that are truly driving economic growth and job creation in America’s urban cores,” said Matt Camp, president of ICIC. “We believe that inner cities hold unique competitive advantages for business, and the success of these firms underscores that market opportunity.”