47. MSDSonline
47. MSDSonline
2010 Revenues: $10.5 million
5-year Annual Growth Rate: 31%

Glenn Trout
Location: Chicago, IL

About the business:
MSDSonline, located in downtown Chicago, sells environmental health and safety software. The company's software suite allows customers to maintain a database of chemicals to comply with environmental laws. A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires for every chemical a business keeps onsite. Founded from a failed dot-com venture at the height of the tech bubble in 1999, MSDSonline serves a niche market made possible by the ubiquity of the internet -- its primary competition is the large paper binder consisting of Material Safety Data Sheets.

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 2012 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. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Staples, New York City Department of Small Business Services, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Companies were ranked by compound annual growth rate (CAGR) based on their revenue over the five-year period between 2006 and 2010, the last year for which complete data was available. This list was audited by the independent accounting firm of Rucci Bardaro and Barrett, PC.
@FortuneMagazine - Last updated May 11 2012: 10:59 AM ET
Join the Conversation
How small businesses grow, even in a tough economy

This year's Inner City 100 companies have fought off a sluggish economy through a combination of smart investment and savvy strategy. Here's how they are doing it.