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Urban Economic Forum Heads to Detroit: Connecting Entrepreneurs & Small Businesses with Tools to Start, Grow & Succeed

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Urban Economic Forum Heads to Detroit: Connecting Entrepreneurs & Small Businesses with Tools to Start, Grow & Succeed

By Marie Johns, Former Deputy Administrator
Published: May 15, 2012 Updated: May 15, 2012

On Thursday, May 17, 2012, SBA and the White House Business Council are heading to Detroit, Michigan for the Urban Economic Forum- connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with business tools and resources. Thursday’s forum will cover topics like SBA guaranteed loans,  government contracting programs and business counseling services.  The Detroit Urban Economic Forum is the seventh in a multi-city series with upcoming forums in Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH.

Speakers for this forum include-


  • Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director, Domestic Policy Council, White House
  • Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Nicole Lamb-Hale, Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Services, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • David Hinson, National Director, Minority Business Development Agency
  • Rosie Rios, Treasurer of the United States, U.S. Department of Treasury, Moderator
  • Ari Matusiak, Executive Director, White House Business Council, White House
  • Jamie Bennett, Chief of Staff & Director of Public Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
  •  Portia Roberson, Strong Cities, Strong Communities Detroit Team Lead, Department of Justice
  • Jay Williams, Director of Auto Communities, Department of Labor

City of Detroit:

  • Honorable Dave Bing, Mayor, City of Detroit, Michigan  


  • Karl I. Bell, Senior Vice President, Invest Detroit
  • Torya Blanchard, Good Girls Go To Paris Crèpes
  • Jeff Bocan, Managing Director, Beringea, LLC
  • Anthony Curis, Owner, El Guapo Fresh Mexican Grill
  • Don Davis, President & CEO, First Independence Bank
  • Emily Doerr, Founder, Hostel Detroit
  • Ken Harris, President & CEO, Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Josh Linkner, CEO & Managing Partner, Detroit Venture Partners
  • Andra Rush, President & CEO, Rush Trucking
  • Leslie Smith, President & CEO, Tech Town
  • Steve Vogel, President & CEO, Grameen America

To join us, tune into the forum on White House Live or follow the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #UrbanEconForum.  The event kicks off at 9:10 AM EDT.

What: Urban Economic Forum

Where: Cobo Center, Detroit, MI

When: Thursday, May 17, 9:10 AM EDT

Watch: White House Live or Twitter (use hashtag #UrbanEconForum)

About the Author:

Marie Johns

Former Deputy Administrator

Marie Johns is a former Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

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