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Helping Small Businesses Grow, Increase Economic Prosperity

Kaiser Permanente San Diego sponsors second Inner City Capital Connections program to help improve community health.

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In 2017, the health-conscious sisters – Maritza, Sativa, and Kaya Murray – transformed a longtime hobby making beauty products at home into the small business Dirt Don’t Hurt. Today, the rising popularity of their all-natural, earth and plant-based activated charcoal products sold online and locally, has inspired them to take their business to the next level.

To learn how to achieve sustainable growth, the siblings recently joined 55 other San Diego area small businesses at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City’s opening seminar for its Inner City Capital Connections program. Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente San Diego in collaboration with ICIC for the second consecutive year, the program promotes economic prosperity in under-resourced areas by supporting small businesses that create jobs, income, and wealth for local residents. Increasing equitable economic opportunity is important to Kaiser Permanente because it is essential to fulfilling its mission to improve the health of its members and the communities it serves.

“We know that low income and high unemployment are powerful predictors of negative health outcomes. We know the heatmaps for income and health disparities substantially overlap. And we know that upstream improvement in the social, economic, and environmental conditions for health in our communities will enhance the long-term effectiveness and affordability of Kaiser Permanente care. That is why economic opportunity is a component of our community health strategy.”

--John Yamamoto, vice president, Community Health and Government Relations, Kaiser Permanente Southern California

While Kaiser Permanente alone cannot close these interrelated economic opportunity and health disparity gaps, this result can be achieved only if anchor institutions like Kaiser Permanente make meaningful contributions.

“One way that Kaiser Permanente can make an impact is by helping small businesses in economically challenged communities build their capacity to grow and create jobs, which in turn enhances local economic vitality,” said Jane Finley, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente San Diego County Area.

Increasing knowledge and relationships

The ICCC curricula offers small business owners over 40 hours of executive education, individual coaching, and webinar sessions to help them build capacity and attract capital. Beginning with the full-day, in-person opening seminar, the tuition-free program features professors from top universities, and financial institution executives and consultants.

These experts provide education on different forms of capital and connections to potential capital providers, and trainings on key topics like strategy and talent management. The program will conclude at a Boston conference in November where small business owners from 15 cities will network and use what they learned to pitch to capital providers.

“The opportunity to have mentorship and a personal commitment from people who have worked in the business community 20, 30 years is awesome as a new business starting out. This program is exactly what we need.”

                                           --Maritza Murray, owner, Dirt Don't Hurt

Fellow seminar attendee Shane Beard, a Fastsigns franchisee and appointed member of the Small Business Advisory Board for the city of San Diego, agreed, describing the time spent as “worth its weight in gold.”

The president of the San Diego City Council, Georgette Gomez, helped begin the event held at the Jacobs Center on May 16 by recognizing health is more than health care. She commended Kaiser Permanente for its medical excellence and efforts to improve economic opportunity, housing, and access to nutritious food that are vital for a healthy community.

In 2016, Kaiser Permanente Southern California was the first Kaiser Permanente region to sponsor the ICCC program in Los Angeles. The Northern California and Mid-Atlantic States regions followed. This year, the Northwest and Hawaii regions will launch their ICCC cohorts. By year-end, Kaiser Permanente in partnership with ICIC will have reached over 900 small businesses in economically challenged communities.

Here is a snapshot of the 2019 ICCC San Diego cohort:

  • 41% are actively seeking capital
  • 54% are minority-owned
  • 70% are woman-owned
  • 12 years in operations
  • $753,000 in annual revenues
  • 9 full-time employees
  • Wide range of industries

Please see the following short videos for more comments from the 2019 ICCC San Diego opening seminar:

ICCC Program Partner: Steve Grossman, chief executive officer, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City

ICCC Program Faculty: Susan Perkins, visiting professor, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

ICCC Program Small Business Participant: Maritza and Sativa Murray, owners of Dirt Don’t Hurt