The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is proud to announce our upcoming summit: “Leveraging Regionalism to Empower Small Businesses.” This groundbreaking event will convene experts, thought leaders, and stakeholders to delve into strategies aimed at fostering small business growth within diverse regional landscapes.

Click here to RSVP

Date: Thursday, May 2, 2024
Time: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: National Press Club, 529 14th St, NW, Washington, DC 20045

In recognition and celebration of Small Business Week, our summit seeks to underscore the pivotal role of small businesses as drivers of economic vitality and community prosperity. By exploring innovative approaches to harnessing regional resources, enhancing infrastructure, and fostering collaborative partnerships, we aim to unlock new pathways for small business success.

Key topics of discussion will focus on equitable access to opportunities, pioneering financing models, and leveraging cutting-edge technology to propel small businesses forward. Our esteemed speakers will share insights, best practices, and actionable solutions aimed at empowering small businesses to thrive and flourish.

Hear from our esteemed line up of ecosystem experts, thought leaders, and lenders:

Keynote conversation: 

  • Alejandra Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development of the U.S. Economic Development Administration
  • Natalie Madeira Cofield, President and CEO, Association for Enterprise Opportunity

State Economic Development Panel:

  • Carolina Martinez, CEO of California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO)
  • Inez Long, President and CEO of the Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF)
  • Wendy Baumann, President and Chief Visionary Officer at the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation
  • Ines Polonius, CEO of Communities Unlimited, Inc.
  • Todd Greene, Vice President, Urban Institute & Executive Director of WorkRise

Local Economic Development Panel: 

  • Daniel Flores, Vice President of Government Relations, Greater Washington Board of Trade
  • John Lewis, CEO of The Harbor Bank of Maryland
  • Brienne Maner, President of Startup Sioux Falls
  • Alison Evans, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development Specialist at the U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Jo Panzera, Executive Director of Start Small Think Big

Conversation on Sustainability and Inclusion for Small Businesses:

  • Chelsea Maxwell, Senior Research Associate for the Association for Enterprise Opportunity
  • Scot Case, Vice President of CSR and Sustainability at the National Retail Federation
  • Coles Jennings, Director of Corporate Sustainability at the Community Climate Collaborative

Moreover, we are excited to announce our forthcoming Regional Council tour in October 2024, which will further amplify our commitment to supporting small businesses across diverse regional landscapes.

Join AEO as we work together to shape the future landscape of regional economic development and small business empowerment.

Click here for more on the Regional Councils.

Click here to register for the May 2, Regional Council Summit.

About The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO)

The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is the voice of innovation in small business and microfinance in the United States. For over 30 years, AEO and its members have helped millions of entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth while supporting themselves, their families, and their communities. AEO’s membership includes a diverse range of organizations providing capital and services to assist underserved entrepreneurs in starting, stabilizing, and expanding their businesses.