Hey, Let’s Grow!

Regions is bringing ICCC to Miami for the first time later this year. A two-time St. Louis program graduate shares why entrepreneurs should apply.
Jun 4, 2024 1:00 PM ET

By Kim Borges 

During National Small Business Week, Regions highlighted entrepreneurs making a difference in their communities – and the organizations helping them thrive.

Keisha Mabry Haymore is in the business of bringing people together.

And if you’re also an entrepreneur, she wants to introduce you to a chance to grow.

Mabry Haymore’s professional networking company, heyFRIEND, was already doing well. But when she took advantage of a free training opportunity to help her business grow, heyFRIEND reached new heights.

The opportunity is one Regions Bank offers to small-business owners every year via Inner City Capital Connections, or ICCC. The program traces its roots to Harvard and is building success nationwide.

Mabry Haymore took part in Regions-sponsored ICCC programs twice in St. Louis. In 2024, the bank is taking ICCC to Miami. Meaning South Florida entrepreneurs will soon make business connections like Mabry Haymore did, helping their own companies grow.

We’ve seen the results ICCC creates for business owners across the country, from Atlanta to Los Angeles and beyond.

Chris Cruzpino, market executive for Regions Bank in Miami

“I’ve enjoyed all of them because they connect people to people and people to resources,” she said. “I did ICCC when I was questioning what to do with my business. You need exposure to resources and tools that take your company to the next level. ICCC empowers you to think strategically and intentionally about growing and scaling.”

ICCC is for entrepreneurs whose companies are in or near under-resourced areas. Or their workforce may come largely from under-resourced communities. Bottom line, if there’s a way to empower small businesses facing a lack of resources, ICCC is committed to helping them build capacity for sustainable growth and resiliency.

“We’ve seen the results ICCC creates for business owners across the country, from Atlanta to Los Angeles and beyond,” said Chris Cruzpino, market executive for Regions Bank in Miami. “So, we were determined to bring ICCC to South Florida. We know the 2024 ICCC event this fall will be transformational for business owners looking to take the next step in their growth.”

The Miami event will happen in early October, and the application page is already available on the ICCC website. The workshop will cover marketing, business strategy, talent retention and more. Participants also gain access to free one-on-one coaching, webinars and a new network of fellow entrepreneurs to learn from and lean on for support.

“What ICCC does is put people in a room as possibility models,” Mabry Haymore said. “Along with amazing program facilitators, there are amazing peers sitting to your right and left, front and back, who have their own experiences and their own stories. We often treat entrepreneurship as an island, but it really is a team sport.”

The ICCC team continues to grow with more than 10 cohorts held annually.

“With Regions’ help since 2014, we’re proud to have built a nationwide network of more than 8,000 alumni whose creativity and passion for growth have created strong, healthy communities,” said Steve Grossman, President and CEO of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, the nonprofit which conducts ICCC. “Key to our success are the relationship-building skills and commitment our alumni have made to help other small business owners reach their full potential.”

The benefits last for years. Consider this: Mabry Haymore is using the knowledge she gained to grow another company, Heydays. It’s a collaborative co-working space providing women founders and founders of color with shared services like accounting, marketing, virtual assistants and more.

“Heydays is a place where people can connect, create and curate anything,” she said. “I opened Heydays because as a founder you realize how important community is, and you see how many gaps exist. Heydays was a matter of building community and seeing how I could support and give back.”

Regions Bank itself decided to support Heydays’ work.

“Eric Madkins and I talk often, and he’s amazing” she said, describing the bank’s Community Development manager in St. Louis. “Regions has sponsored a lot of things we do to support our business owners.”

"I opened Heydays because as a founder you realize how important community is, and you see how many gaps exist. Heydays was a matter of building community and seeing how I could support and give back.”

Keisha Mabry Haymore

“Keisha and I met 14 years ago in a leadership program, where I quickly discovered her energy is off the charts,” said Madkins. “Her ideas jump off the page and come to life due to her keen vision and entrepreneurial spirit.”

For fellow entrepreneurs considering applying for ICCC, Mabry Haymore encourages them to take the leap.

“I would say it’s understandable, you’re busy and your time is limited, but this is time well spent,” she said. “I came away from my ICCC experience with what I call the five Cs: community, creativity, clarity, courage and confidence.”

Mabry Haymore knows she can continue calling on that community for years to come.

“So many times, as founders, we’re taught to do these things all by ourselves,” she said. “ICCC is about being able to look to others for inspiration and leveraging your community to build capacity. It’s about the power of relationships. I’m thankful for it.”

Read about more ICCC alumni.

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