100 fastest growing inner city businesses

7. Nitel
7. Nitel
2009 Revenues: $31.9 million
5-year Annual Growth Rate: 79%

CEO:
Rick Stern
Location: Chicago, IL
Year Founded: 1997

About the business:
Nitel is considered a first-mover in the rural broadband services market. The firm not only managed to survive a shakeout of weaker competitors during the Great Recession but it also experienced an impressive 79% compound five-year growth rate.

CEO Rick Stern's commitment to the Chicago community comes in the form of annual donations to a local orphanage.

Stern plans to acquire or build his own network sometime in the future.

--By Marc Francis and Mack Davidson


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. For the 2011 list, ICIC received more than 2,000 solicited nominations using its database of small businesses and through the support of its nominating partners, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Staples, and the Small Business Administration. Companies were ranked by compound annual growth rate (CAGR) based on their revenue over the five-year period between 2005 and 2009 (the last year for which complete data was available).
Last updated May 18 2011: 5:14 PM ET
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