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ICIC and Staples Honor Baltimore Solar Energy Firm for Business Growth

Submitted by: Initiative for a Competitive Inner City

Categories: Economic Development, Ratings & Awards

Posted: Oct 20, 2015 – 12:00 PM EST


BALTIMORE, Md., Oct. 20 /CSRwire/ - The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and FORTUNE announced that Baltimore based  Bithenergy, a renewable energy firm, topped the 2015 Inner City 100 list of the fastest-growing inner city businesses in the U.S. Bithenergy was recognized by longtime ICIC partner Staples, Inc. for both its top place on the list, and for its growth rate of 2,973 percent. Staples presented the company with the annual Staples Business Growth Award for this impressive rate.

“Entrepreneurship is in our blood and we are committed to honoring the entrepreneurs who are bringing economic opportunity to America’s inner cities,” said Shira Goodman, Executive Vice President, North American Commercial at Staples. “ICIC and Staples share a common vision and congratulate Bithenergy for helping create an urban marketplace that is critical to the long-term health of the economy.”

Bithenergy’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert Wallace, has founded several companies, including an IT consultancy. Bithenergy applies a professional services model to the energy business and offers intelligent strategies for development of renewable energy systems, managing energy consumption, and building smart grid infrastructure. Through its internship program, Bithenergy works to connect local youth to future opportunities in the energy industry, and Wallace is active in promoting small and minority business in Baltimore and beyond.

Each year, ICIC works with a national network of nominating partners to identify, rank and spotlight rapidly-growing urban businesses. The top 100 are determined by revenue growth and are honored on the Inner City 100 list published in FORTUNE. This year’s full list of winners can be viewed at Fortune.com.

Before the Awards celebration, winners gathered for a full-day business symposium featuring management case studies from Harvard Business School professors and interactive sessions with top CEOs. Keynote speakers included Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Harvard Business School Professor and ICIC Founder and Chairman Michael E. Porter, University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley, Boston Beer Chairman and Co-Founder Jim Koch, Hill Holliday CEO Karen Kaplan and Uber East Coast General Manager Meghan Verena Joyce.

"These entrepreneurs are strong community leaders and industry game changers,” ICIC CEO Steve Grossman said of the 2015 Inner City 100 winners. “Their businesses are critical drivers of economic development and job creation. Together, they demonstrate the competitive advantages of doing business in our inner cities."

Boasting an average five-year growth rate of 378 percent between 2010 and 2014, the 2015 Inner City 100 winners represent a wide span of geography, hailing from 45 cities and 23 states. Collectively, the winners employ 6,168 people, and on average, over a third of their employees live in the same neighborhood as the company. 

Highlights of the 2015 Inner City 100 include: 

  • Employ 6,168 workers total. 

  • Created 3,755 new jobs in the last five years.

  • On average, 32 percent of employees live in the same neighborhood as the company.  

  • Average company age is 15 years.

  • Average 2014 revenue is $12 million.

  • 25 percent have female CEOs.

  • 40 percent have a minority CEO.

  • 12 percent of the winners are certified veteran-owned.    


Inner City 100 Methodology: The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) defines inner cities as core urban areas with higher unemployment and poverty rates and lower median incomes than their surrounding metropolitan statistical areas. Every year, ICIC identifies, ranks, and spotlights the 100 fastest-growing businesses located in America’s inner cities. In 2015, Companies were ranked by revenue growth over the five-year period between 2010 and 2014. This list was audited by the independent accounting firm Rucci, Bardaro, and Falzone, PC.

Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC)
ICIC is a national nonprofit founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter. ICIC's mission is to promote economic prosperity in America's inner cities through private sector investment that leads to jobs, income and wealth creation for local residents. Through its research on inner city economies, ICIC provides businesses, governments and investors with the most comprehensive and actionable information in the field about urban market opportunities. The organization supports urban businesses through the Inner City 100, Inner City Capital Connections and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programs. Learn more at www.icic.org or @icicorg

For more information, please contact:

Phone: 617-238-3010
Twitter: @icicorg


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