Five printing firms are among the 100 fastest-growing inner-city companies in the U.S. as recognized by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC). They include, above, Hotcards, led by founder and CEO Columbus Woodruff (center); and, below, Panther Graphics, owned by Tony Jackson, CEO.

The printers earned their places on the 2010 Inner City 100 list by demonstrating robust sales growth rates over a five-year period. Appearing on the list in order of CAGR ranking are PrintGlobe, Austin, TX (#34); Hotcards (Cleveland, OH, #38); Jakprints (Cleveland, OH, #46); Panther Graphics (Rochester, NY, #73); and Pogue Label & Screen (St. Louis, MO, #98). The rankings were announced at the Inner City 100 Awards Dinner on May 5 in Boston. To qualify for the Inner City 100 list, companies were required to have at least 51% of their operations located in an economically distressed urban area and employ at least 10 full-time workers. ICIC defines an economically distressed urban area as having a 50% higher unemployment level, a 50% higher poverty level, and a 50% lower median income than its surrounding metropolitan statistical area. Applicants had to have revenues of at least $200,000 in the first year of consideration and least $1 million in the fifth year. They also were required to show sales growth from year four to year five. For the 2010 list, ICIC looked at total revenue growth from 2004 to 2008, and the specific rankings were based on these growth rates. Five-year CAGRs for the print honorees were 40% (PrintGlobe), 38% (Hotcards), 33% (Jakprints), 23% (Panther Graphics), and 10% (Pogue Label & Screen). “It’s an honor to be ranked so highly on the ICIC 100,” said Columbus Woodruff, founder and CEO of Hotcards. “I’m thrilled for everybody on the team here at Hotcards, but I also hope this acknowledgment works to dispel some myths about inner city businesses, and about the printing industry itself, as segments that have been too fragile to stand up to the recession.” Hotcards is a full-service print provider with headquarters in Cleveland and pick-up locations in 11 other cities. Woodruff says that a focus on employees, a fully automated print buying system available at, recent investments in green printing technology, and “the amazing community in Cleveland’s inner city” are the pillars the company’s continued growth and success. ICIC created the Inner Cities 100 program 12 years ago to recognize the contributions of inner-city firms and the competitive advantages of doing business with them. An article about the program in Bloomberg BusinessWeek says that over the past 12 years, winners have created 71,000 new jobs and have employed 40,000 inner-city residents. Most (85%) of the companies on the 2010 list are said to expect revenue to increase in 2009-10, with more than a quarter predicting upwards of 30%—about double from the previous year's expectations. The program also is supported by Bank of America, Chevron Corporation, Goldman Sachs and the Staples Foundation for Learning.