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Corporate Specialties Ranks #70 On The Initiative For A Competitive Inner City’s Annual Inner City 100 List

Published: 2023-12-19 Author: Lisa Horn

We’re thrilled to share that Corporate Specialties has been named a winner of the 2023 Inner City 100 (IC100) awarded by Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC). Since 1999, ICIC has identified and celebrated the 100 fastest-growing businesses in under-resourced communities in the U.S. through the IC100 award. 

The 2023 IC100 winners were evaluated based on revenue growth from 2018 to 2022. Corporate Specialties, led by Valerie Hayman Sklar, was ranked #70 on the list based on its four-year revenue growth rate of 73.2%. In 2021, Corporate Specialties was ranked #97. 

When reviewing the last four years, Valerie says the growth is the result of successful implementation of technology, ease-of-process and providing the one-on-one customer service for which the company is known.

“Clients continue coming back because we provide not only products but also the creative ideas and campaign execution,” she says. “They appreciate the concierge-level service we offer and they know that when they need merch to enhance their campaigns, they can count on us to offer ideas for events, onboarding, corporate gifts and more. Thank you to our clients for placing your trust in us to be good stewards of your brand, and thank you to ICIC for this prestigious honor.”

Founded by renowned Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter in 1994, ICIC is a research and strategy organization that today is widely recognized as the preeminent authority on urban economic growth. It drives inclusive economic prosperity in under-resourced communities through innovative research and programs to create jobs, income and wealth for local residents. 

2023 IC100 Winners By The Numbers


From 2018 to 2022, the 2022 Inner City 100 companies averaged 454% revenue growth and created 2,781 total jobsOf these 100 winners, 57% are BIPOC-owned/led, and 50% are woman-owned/led, the latter of which ties last year’s record-high number in the program’s 25-year history.

Cities Represented:


States Represented:


Industries Represented:










First-Time Winners:


Hall of Famers (won IC100 5 or more times)


Average Four-Year Revenue Growth Rate:


Average 2022 Revenue:


Total Jobs Created (2018-2022):


This year’s IC100 list was unveiled during an awards ceremony at ICIC’s 2023 Annual Conference held in December. The full list of 2023 IC100 award winners is available here.  

A big thank you to ICIC for this honor. We are truly grateful to be included on this list with so many distinguished businesses.

Creating Branded Merch Programs Across The Nation

If you’d like to know more about what we do at Corporate Specialties and what makes us different from traditional promotional products distributors, check out this article on our concierge service as well as this series on why strategy is imperative to your marketing promotions

Like what you see? Let’s talk about your promotional marketing goals. Contact us at or book an appointment at to get started today. 

Corporate Specialties. We Do Merch Right.