An expert panel of policymakers and entrepreneurs talk about major issues facing small businesses and what can be done to improve their prosperity.
Zoltan Acs, Director
Zoltan J. Acs is University Professor and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy (CEPP) at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and former Chief Economist at the Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration and a visiting professor at Imperial College London. Previously he was a Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena, Germany, and Scholar-in-Residence at the Kauffman Foundation. He is coeditor and founder of Small Business Economics, the leading entrepreneurship and small business publication in the world. Dr. Acs is an advocate for the importance of entrepreneurship in economic development. He received the 2001 International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research. He is on the board of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, The World Entrepreneurship Forum and the Swedish Foundation for Small Business. Edward Elgar Publisher published his most recent book the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI) in 2010 (co-authored with Lazslo Szerb).
Martin Baily is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program and holds the Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Development. He is the Director of the Initiative on Business and Public Policy and co-leads the All-Brookings Priority on “Growth through Innovation.” Baily’s research focuses on issues of globalization, productivity and competitiveness, Social Security reform, and U.S. economic policy.
Steve Clemons is Washington editor at large for The Atlantic as well as editor in chief of Atlantic LIVE. He also publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note at The Atlantic.com. Steve is Senior Fellow and Founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, a centrist think tank in Washington, D.C., where he previously served as executive vice president. Clemons writes and speaks frequently about the D.C. political scene, foreign policy and national security issues, as well as domestic and global economic policy challenges.
Robb Hilson is the Small Business executive at Bank of America. Hilson leads a national organization that provides banking solutions to almost 4 million businesses with annual revenue up to $5 million across the U.S. Most recently, he served as the Client Development Group executive within Global Commercial Banking.
Hilson joined Bank of America in 1987 and has held a number of leadership positions in Commercial Banking including PNW Product Delivery executive, GCIB Credit Services executive, SE Regional Business Banking
executive, and South Florida Commercial Market executive. He also has held the positions of market president in South Florida and Palm Beach County, as well as state president of Florida.
Hilson has served on the Community Partnership for Homeless and Westminster Christian School boards in addition to the Board of Governors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. He is also an Orange Bowl Committee member and was 2005-2006 March of Dimes Walk chair.
For nearly twenty years Karen Kerrigan’s leadership, advocacy and training work has helped foster U.S. entrepreneurship and global small business growth. She is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and is the group’s chief advocate for its members.
Kerrigan regularly testifies before the U.S. Congress on the key issues impacting entrepreneurs and the economy, and has been appointed to numerous federal advisory boards including the National Women’s Business Council, the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialog, the U.S. Treasury’s Taxpayer Advisory Panel, and the National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions of U.S. Free Trade Agreements. Kerrigan has participated in two Presidential economic summits, and scores of events hosted by the White House, U.S. Small Business Administration and other federal government agencies and departments. She has written hundreds of Op-Eds and newspaper columns, and regularly appears on national television and talk radio programs.
She has been called America’s “entrepreneurial envoy” and “small business ambassador” for her extensive work overseas. Kerrigan is a founding member of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, and regularly provides counsel to governments and business associations across the globe regarding entrepreneurial development, capacity building and policy formation and implementation. Kerrigan currently chairs the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), one of the core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy, which works to strengthen democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market oriented reform.
In 2012 and 2011 she was named a Top 100 Champion Small Business Influencer by Blackberry and Small Business Trends. In November of 2009 she was presented with the “Small Business Advocate of the Year” award by the NY Enterprise Report, Among other accolades, Inc. Magazine named Kerrigan to its small business “Best Friends in D.C.” (2006) list as a “power broker and activist” with “serious clout” for entrepreneurs.; Fortune Small Business to its “Power 30” list (2000); and The Hill newspaper to its “most influential small business” list (2006) describing her as “the hardest working woman in show business.” In 1995, National Journal named Ms. Kerrigan to its short list of “K Street” activists most likely to have an impact on Capitol Hill. Campaigns and Elections Magazine named her as one of its “Rising Stars in Politics” in its April 1996 issue.
Kerrigan graduated from SUNY Cortland with a B.A. in Political Science, and resides in Northern Virginia.
Y. Maria Martinez
Y. Maria Martinez is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Respira Medical.