October 17, 2018
Annual ranking by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City Published in Fortune
announced today it has made the 2018 Inner City 100 list of the fastest-growing inner city businesses in America. The (ICIC) compiles the annual list based on revenue growth. The full list is available on . One of four companies in New York state and the only Buffalo-based company to make the 2018 list, StudioLabs has been working with regional, national, and international organizations for over 15 years to develop engaging, business-driven solutions across a wide variety of industries and digital platforms. ICIC, a 25-year-old national nonprofit founded by Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter, promotes economic prosperity in America's inner cities through private sector investment that leads to jobs, income and wealth creation for local residents.
Focusing on the design and development of high-end custom software, mobile applications, websites, e-commerce and other digital product solutions, StudioLabs has continued to expand its economic footprint in the city of Buffalo since its inception in 2003. Led by President and CEO Liz Young, StudioLabs is ranked 79th based on its growth rate from 2013 to 2017. That growth includes 105 percent in revenue and a workforce growth from 12 to 29 employees.
“It’s amazing to see what our city is becoming”, said Young. “Growing up in the city of Buffalo, there’s this enormous sense of pride that’s instilled in you from childhood. And I see it everywhere I travel — I meet a Buffalo expat in just about every city I visit — and the commonality between them and me is almost always this overwhelming sense of pride for our hometown. I decided to build a business here partially because of that sense of pride, but also because I saw a pool of underutilized talent in Buffalo 12-13 years ago. Now, that talent pool is no longer underutilized. There are so many jobs for people in the software industry; jobs that didn’t exist in Buffalo a decade ago. It’s been incredible to watch that evolution.” StudioLabs has offices in both Buffalo, NY and New York City, and their growth plan is heavily dependent on hiring talent in Buffalo.
Said ICIC CEO Steve Grossman, “Inner City 100 companies are forces of economic opportunity, optimism and transformation in their communities. They lead the way in innovation, job creation and economic revitalization and it’s an honor to shine the spotlight on their leadership and accomplishments. In addition to excellence in business, these pioneering entrepreneurs have demonstrated a deep commitment to and passion for their communities, which significantly impact the wellbeing of their local economies.”
About StudioLabs and Liz Young
Since 2003, StudioLabs has been trusted to help conceive, create, and produce various digital products for some of the world’s most well-known brands, agencies, and leading technology companies. Current and past clients include: Estee Lauder, SiriusXM Radio, ESPN, Mouthwatch Teledent, Hunter Fan, and the Central Park Conservancy. Learn more at
Liz Young, a Buffalo native, graduated from the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts and earned a Bachelors degree from the University of Hartford. She started her career handling projects ranging from web and print design, to illustration and animation. Along the way she received a few industry awards, including Webby’s, W3 Awards, and a coveted Clio. In addition to her responsibilities at StudioLabs, Liz is a founding partner and board of directors member at CoachMePlus, and she serves on the board of directors and advisory boards for various other companies in the technology space. Liz is also an adjunct professor of graphic design at Pace University in NYC.
About the ICIC Annual List
Now celebrating its 20th year, ICIC’s Inner City 100 list has long celebrated urban entrepreneurship. Since its inception, ICIC’s list has recognized 975 companies, which have seen average growth rates of more than 400 percent during a five-year period and have collectively created more than 126,000 meaningful jobs in America’s distressed and underserved communities and neighborhoods. The Inner City 100 program opens doors for other budding urban entrepreneurs and stimulates inner city business development and job creation through recognition, networking and learning.
2018 Inner City 100 by the numbers:
Inner City 100 Methodology: The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) defines inner cities as core urban areas with higher unemployment and poverty rates and lower median incomes than their
surrounding metropolitan statistical areas. Every year, ICIC identifies, ranks, and awards the 100 fastest-growing businesses located in America’s inner cities. In 2018, companies were ranked by revenue growth over the five-year period between 2013 and 2017. This list was audited by the independent accounting firm AAFCPAs.
Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC)
ICIC is a national nonprofit founded by Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter. ICIC's mission is to promote economic prosperity in America's inner cities through private sector investment that leads to jobs, income and wealth creation for local residents. Through its research on inner city economies, ICIC provides businesses, governments and investors with the most comprehensive and actionable information in the field about urban market opportunities. The organization supports urban businesses through the , , Goldman Sachs program, and Santander Bank’s program. Learn more at or .
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