Black Companies Among Fastest Growing

The Bottom Line: Several make the Inc. list of surging companies, Inner City on the ropes and more business news.


The annual Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies for 2011 includes the Top 10 Black Entrepreneurs. It is a diverse group. Eight of the companies are engaged directly in some aspect of science or technology. They include an innovative dental firm, three management-consulting companies, a real estate settlement services firm, a telecom and technology service provider, a clinical-research company, a real estate services firm, an electronic-discovery and document-review company, and a public health consulting firm.

The largest company on the magazine's list, Urban Lending Solutions, a real estate settlement service firm founded by ex-NFL player Charles Sanders, had 2010 revenues of $127 million. The next biggest was A10 Clinical Solutions, a clinical-research firm with $19.7 million in revenues. Each of the other eight  had revenues below $11 million. Three of this year's companies were also on the 2010 Inc. 5000: Top 10 Black Entrepreneurs list. They are A10 Clinical Solutions, A. Harold and Associates and SciMetrika.

Here are the three black-owned companies included in Inc.'s list of 100 fastest-growing companies for 2011:

ClearCorrect, the 17th-fastest-growing company on the Inc. 5000 list, had 2010 revenues of $8.7 million and a three-year growth rate of 8,625 percent. It was founded in Houston in 2007 by dentist Willis Pumphrey. He created a new type of clear (invisible) braces. His son, Jarrett Pumphrey, is CEO of the firm, which is also the top health sector company in the Inc. 5000. Follow ClearCorrect on Twitter or read the blog.

A. Harold and Associates, of Jacksonville, Fla., was the 36th-fastest-growing company. It is a technology, education, engineering and training support services firm. It had 2010 revenues of $10.9 million and a three-year growth rate of 5,509 percent. Its CEO is Andrew Harold Jr. In 2010 the White house cited the company as a stimulus success story.

JMA Solutions, which had 2010 revenues of $6.6 million and a three-year growth rate 4,317 percent, was 45th on the Inc. 5000 list. It was founded in Washington, D.C., by 24-year Air Force veteran Janice Adams, who served the Department of Defense Joint Chiefs of Staff. JMA Solutions' primary contract is with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pioneering Black Media Company Faces Bankruptcy 

Inner City Broadcasting'creditors say that they are owed $254 million. Its 40-year record as a media company may be over. In 1971 the now-deceased Percy Sutton and other investors became the first black owners of a New York radio station when they bought AM station WLIB. Three years later, Inner City purchased WBLS-FM and began a buying spree that led to a mini-empire of 18 radio stations and some television cable franchises. The group later acquired, renovated and reopened Harlem's Apollo Theater but had to hand it over to a nonprofit group in 1992 when the New York Times reported, "Mr. Sutton said he could no longer afford to run it."

In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund II LP, Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund Ltd. and Fortress Credit Funding I LP said that Inner City Media Corp., the parent of Inner City, owes them $254 million. The creditors asked a bankruptcy judge to put the company into Chapter 11 after it walked away from a deal to restructure Inner City's debt.

According to Reuters, the plan would have given the lenders the majority of Inner City's equity and less debt. Inner City's shareholders would get $1.2 million in cash, 2 percent of the company, and warrants for common stock and stock options of management. Pierre Sutton, the founder's son and Inner City chairman, had a five-year employment agreement with a $600,000 annual salary.