A group of Louisiana entrepreneurs launched Intercosmos in 1999 to offer free Web hosting. Revenue at first came from advertising; in 2000 Intercosmos was able to start charging for domain names. The company works with the city to employ four public-school interns a year, training them in customer support. Many of those students are later hired full-time.
3. Tech Valley Communications
4,280% 10.3 million 50
The late-'90s telecom bust actually helped Kevin O'Connor get his phone company off the ground. Trolling on eBay, he found $50,000 routers for $5,000. Tech Valley now uses that equipment to provide phone and high-speed Internet services to a customer base that is mostly commercial.
3,643% 44.7 million 98
Employees at 180s (No. 1 on last year's Inner City 100) not only make ear warmers, gloves, and sunglasses, they mentor freshmen and sophomores at an inner city high school. While the high school's dropout rate hovers at 60%, 99% of the students in the program have gone on to graduate.
Workers from Lance K. Vierra's computer hardware reseller recently climbed three 14,000-foot peaks to install a wireless communication system meant to help firefighters communicate by radio over a larger geographic area during a wildfire.
2,538% 42 million 273
Peopleclick's Web-enabled human resources software helps companies manage the hiring process by, for instance, prescreening applicants and automatically e-mailing rejection notices to unqualified ones. Still, sometimes the best recruiting tools are old-fashioned; one of Peopleclick's big draws, according to CEO Stephen Sasser, is its downtown location.
2,115% 7.8 million 40
Mario Reyna knows how to stop traffic. Reyna, an electronics technician turned CEO, estimates that his company has installed 8% of all the traffic signals in greater Houston. Traf-Tex also builds and services surveillance cameras for highways and electronic road signs.
1,950% 10.2 million 109
In the past three years, Coakley-Tech, which helps businesses store files of documents physically and digitally, has gone from three clients to 35, including the health care division of GE and Milwaukee's own Harley-Davidson. New president Chris Illman says cities should focus more on local procurement. "In turn, companies like Coakley-Tech will hire from within the city and everybody wins," he says.
10. Resources for Senior Living
1,852% 10.8 million 525
With nine residences in Texas and the Carolinas, Resources for Senior Living caters to seniors who don't need nursing-home care but do need assistance, be it with bathing, eating, or taking medication.
Are Things Happening in Detroit?
Kwame Kilpatrick, the optimistic mayor of Detroit and winner of this year's ICIC Mayoral Leadership Award, believes the Motor City is becoming a hotbed of entrepreneurship, despite what others say.
2005 Inner City Almanac
Why do companies locate in the inner city? What was the average valuation of companies on the 2005 list? And what contributed most to their growth over the past five years? Discover answers to these questions and more in this collection of interesting facts and statistics about the companies that made the 2005 Inner City 100 list.
2005 Inner City 100 Hall of Fame
Three companies will appear on the Inner City 100 for the fifth time out of the seven years that the list has been in existence. Here are this year's inductees into the Inner City Hall of Fame.
2005 Inner City 100 Countdown
Inc.com counted down to this year's list by profiling several Inner City honorees in the Fresh Inc. weblog.