Innovation Hub

Innovate Faster. Partner Smarter. Execute Better.

AEO’s Innovation Hub Model

The Innovation Hub is a mechanism for driving innovation through rich market research, results-focused convenings, and collaboration with industry stakeholders.

AEO, its members and partners spearhead the creation of transformative solutions aimed at increasing the success of the U.S. microbusiness sector.


  • Include and engage diverse market actors in cohorts that identify sector opportunities for advancement or participation
  • Organize and support action-oriented cohorts to address specific issues i.e. initiatives, with measurable results

What Is the Innovation Hub?

The innovation hub is the central point for the introduction of new methods, products, services, and ideas into the small business ecosystem for the purpose of creating impact in the market.


What is Innovation at AEO?

Innovation at AEO is a facilitated process for engaging cohorts of diverse stakeholders, and co-designing new solutions and platforms that drive transformational change.

Why the AEO Innovation Hub?

The Innovation Hub uses AEO’s core competencies to generate transformational change. Its goal is to build a more robust and inclusive marketplace for underserved microbusiness entrepreneurs. AEO brings a series of unique competencies to innovation: a systemic understanding, a capacity to collaborate and to partner with a wide and diverse range of market actors, and an entrepreneurial, resourceful approach.

What is a Cohort?

Cohorts are facilitated groups of people that address shared goals. Cohorts are formed around initiatives that drive industry impact. Cohorts are instrumental in testing innovation efforts through prototypes and pilots. 

Core Services of AEO’s Innovation Hub


Conferences and events


Additive data that presents new insights through reports, white papers, data, and tool kits


Deployment of flexible seed capital to accelerate development of emerging solutions

The Innovation Hub Value Proposition

Innovate Faster.

  • Accelerated access to capital
  • Augmented availability of technical assistance
  • Efficient process for engaging cohorts and designing new initiatives

Partner Smarter.

  • Collaborative discovery and launch of products and tools to meet microbusiness needs

Execute Better.

  • Shared data to diagnose market challenges
  • Solution-oriented cohorts comprised of diverse stakeholders

Membership Requirements for Cohort Participation


  • The applicant must be an AEO Premium level member.
  • The applicant must meet the requirements of the cohort.


Capital & Services
Reimagining Technical Assistance
Black Owned Businesses
Returning Citizens Entrepreneurship Readiness



AEO Members

Industry Players

Policy Makers

Microbusiness Owners

Other Stakeholders


Identify Problems and Opportunities:

We look closer at the microbusiness world to understand its challenges.

Gather Intelligence

We find out all of the facts to deeply refine our vantage point and clarify and align our goals to unify our efforts.


We imagine creative approaches and outcomes for our members to maximize opportunity for the entrepreneurs they serve.

Pilots & Proof of Concept

We put our ideas into practice in the real world to discover what truly works.

Share Insights, Impact, and Best Practices:

We keep the industry informed with recommendations based on our outcomes and findings.

Go to Market

We collaborate with organizations of various sizes to put our ideas into practice on an industry-wide level .