AEO’s Data-Driven Research Recognized by IBM
August 16, 2017

Dear AEO Community:
I am pleased to announce that AEO was recently recognized by IBM for our use of data-driven research to drive social impact.
“Leap before you lag” by the IBM Institute for Business Value, part of IBM Global Business Services, finds that non-profits with advanced analytics capabilities “are more effective in driving performance against mission and achieving internal efficiencies.” The report specifically cites AEO’s research initiative behind our “The Big Picture: A Larger View of the Small Business Market” study. A data set of more than eleven million records was analyzed in order to provide an overview of small businesses in low-income communities across the U.S., and their impact on the overall economy. The findings of this study are key to AEO’s advocacy efforts, and were instrumental in shaping Project CUE, a marketplace connecting small businesses with CDFIs able to serve them.
The IBM report also acknowledges AEO’s effective use of partnerships to take on a project of this scope. Non-profits often lack the resources to do large-scale data analysis in-house, so innovative collaborations are essential. IBM and Dun & Bradstreet contributed their talent and resources to the project, enabling AEO to undertake this first-ever data analysis of the universe of small businesses in low-income communities.
Looking ahead, as a follow-up to “The Big Picture” AEO will conduct a deep-dive analysis of the business landscape in five major U.S. cities. We will again collaborate with outside partners, including Dun & Bradstreet, but this next iteration will compare businesses in communities of varying wealth levels throughout Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles. This research will be a valuable resource to AEO members working in these regions, providing them with a deeper understanding of the needs of small businesses and how they can be better served.
AEO is committed to changing the way that capital and services flow to underserved entrepreneurs through research, advocacy and innovation. Data-driven insights are a critical part of these efforts, and we are deeply grateful to the support of our partners and funders who help make this work possible.
Connie Evans
President & CEO