A lot of companies shed IT talent between 2000 and 2002, and Nina Vaca snapped it up to help solve her clients' IT and payroll headaches. Vaca, a native of Ecuador, is proud that her staff is diverse: About 85% of employees are women or people of color.
72. Colorlab Cosmetics
303% 1.9 million 30
As a makeup artist, Mary Swaab received lots of requests for custom-blended cosmetics. So in 1996 she started Colorlab. The company makes private-label cosmetics for salons, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons, and does contract manufacturing for beauty companies. This summer, it will open beauty counters in Paris's Galeries Lafayette and London's Selfridges, where staffers will mix personalized lipsticks, foundations, and other products in under ten minutes.
73. A&A Contracting
286% 1.6 million 25
This company renovates historic buildings, meticulously restoring plaster and woodwork and buffing up worn exteriors. Most projects deal with pre-1920s structures; A&A recently transformed an old convent into a 22-unit apartment building.
277% 23.4 million 128
ScriptSave connects customers of insurance companies, health care organizations, and HMOs in all 50 states with its network of 50,000 pharmacies to help them save up to 22% on the cost of their prescription medicines. Founder Charles Horn says 1.5 million ScriptSave subscribers saved about $175 million in out-of-pocket expenses last year and about 12 million subscribers have saved close to $1 billion since he started the company a decade ago.
75. Brightside Academy
270% 28.6 million 857
Brightside (formerly Allegheny Child Care Academy) runs 38 child care centers in inner city Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Cleveland. A few years ago the company began encountering serious financial troubles. The private equity firm that bought the business in 2003 put the company into bankruptcy, installed a new CEO, brought the company out of bankruptcy, and, in 2005, renamed it. Today, Brightside is growing again.
76. Automated Teller Accessories
265% 4.8 million 50
Salt Lake City
Banks hire Michael Robson's company to give their ATMs cosmetic surgery. ATA repaints, cleans, or repairs the facades of more than 10,000 ATMs a year. In his spare time, Robson volunteers for a local microloan fund. He helps the bankers pick which entrepreneurs should receive up to $25,000 to open small businesses like a beauty shop or a carpet store.
77. HMB Contractors
262% 3.5 million 36
A mentorship program with an established contractor helped CEO Heidi Brandt -- who taught grade school science for 11 years before founding her business -- break into the male-dominated demolition industry. Now she's branching out. Brandt recently set up a plant where she plans to recycle material from demolition sites, including concrete, grass, and asphalt. "I don't believe in sending everything to the landfill," she says.
78. Integrated Media Technologies
257% 1.6 million 12
Besides designing security software that helps his customers keep an eye on their assets, Joe Reyes put his company's offices three blocks away from the house he grew up in so he could keep an eye on his old neighborhood. He is also advising local Hispanic community groups on business and development issues.
248% 2.8 million 23
For as long as he can remember, Donald I. King wanted to be an architect. Today, he runs the largest African American-owned architecture firm in the Pacific Northwest, specializing in community and public works projects. He also mentors inner city youths and aspiring minority architects. "It's so crucial to capture the diversity of the cultures in these communities," he says, "and architecture is such a prominent way to do so."
80. El Taller Colaborativo
235% 10.8 million 50
As his engineering and architecture firm enters its third decade, CEO Alex Garcia is extending its reach. El Taller Colaborativo has made its reputation designing municipal buildings, expressways, schools, and apartment complexes in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Now the company has added talent in landscape architecture, construction management, and U.S. Green Building Council certification.
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.