As a result of this transaction, ACT was able to provide a capacity building grant of $48,000 to BLUE1647, an entrepreneurship and technology innovation center that provides technology training to low-income individuals and disadvantaged small businesses. The grant was used to assist BLUE1647 in their expansion to St. Louis in partnership with LaunchCode and the St. Louis NAACP to bring technology classes and workforce development programs to the city’s underserved youth. At each CIC location, CIC’s sister non-profit Venture Café Foundation hosts programming to provide the tools of innovation and entrepreneurship to the low-income community.
UACD funded an operating business transaction that is enabling the national expansion of a catalytic innovation space operator into multiple severely-distressed areas. CIC provides flexible office space to small and fast growing companies, and is attributed with the rebirth of Kendall Square in Cambridge. Through this expansion, CIC successfully launched a new St. Louis location at the Cortex Innovation Community, recently opened in a new location in Miami’s historically underserved Overtown community, and plans to open additional locations in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Providence—all in severely distressed low income communities. This transaction is expected to create 39 new direct CIC staff positions, generate thousands of indirect jobs within CIC client companies, and attract millions of dollars in private investment. In each location, CIC’s sister non-profit, the Venture Café Foundation (VCF) seeks to expand diversity in the innovation economy and broaden economic opportunity to low income communities. VCF hosts a free weekly gathering at each CIC location that attracts 400-800 attendees and sponsors several internship programs geared towards students at under-resourced schools. In St. Louis, CIC and VCF were a vital “idea lab” for the Ferguson Commission, creating momentum for critical community and economic development plans.