15. Rise Interactive
15. Rise Interactive
2010 Revenues: $2.3 million
5-year Annual Growth Rate: 60%

Jon Morris
Location: Chicago, IL

About the business:
Rise Interactive in Chicago focuses on making websites more popular and profitable. The firm, whose clients includes companies like CVS-Caremark and ConAgra Foods, sprang from a business plan that then-MBA student Jon Morris submitted as part of a University of Chicago competition. The $10,000 prize served as startup capital for the firm.

Morris chalks up Rise's impressive growth to a case of ideal timing. The company launched just as businesses in general began to recognize the potential of web marketing. Morris also made a smart move hiring financial analysts -- versus traditional marketing types -- who could offer clients solid website performance analysis. The move gave the company an edge over the competition. Morris may need a few more tricks up his sleeve to take on the growing ranks of competitors.

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
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