Dream Exchange Founder & CEO Attends the Black Business Policy Conference

Joseph J. Cecala
Founder & Chief Executive Officer

The Black Business Policy Conference

Founder and CEO Joe Cecala was honored to participate alongside 100 Black business owners and entrepreneurs in the Black Business Policy Conference on Wednesday, February 22nd. The conference was co-sponsored by the National Black Chamber of Commerce and the National Business League, a historic organization founded by Booker T. Washington. Conference attendees met with newly inducted Undersecretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development about the most current issues affecting black-owned businesses with a lack of access to capital being among the focal points of the discussion.

Don Cravins, Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development
From left: Charles DeBow, President and CEO of NBCC, Donald R. Cravins Jr., Undersecretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development and Dr. Kenneth L. Harris, President and CEO of the NBL

According to a white paper written by Joe Cecala and Ioannis Floros PhD in 2018, since the late 1990’s, the total number of public companies has declined by nearly 50%. In addition, the number of small initial public offerings (IPOs) has also declined from 70-90% of the total IPO market to just 20-30%. With over 141,000 businesses owned by Black Americans employing 1.3 million people according to the US Census, getting these businesses access to capital is a vital lifeline for our economy.

A proposed solution to this problem is the Main Street Growth Act that will allow for the creation of a new type of stock exchange specifically designed for small and emerging, early-stage businesses. This new type of stock exchange will be able to provide access to a liquid, public, capital marketplace and act as a bridge to help small businesses grow and eventually list on a national market system exchange.

Charles DeBow, Don Cravins 52 CEOs meeting at the Black Business Policy Conference

Based on this discussion, the US Department of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding which establishes a framework for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and the National Alliance of Black Businesses (NABB) to join forces to increase growth and global scaling As part of this alliance, MBDA and NABB will share data and raise public awareness about programs and initiatives affecting black-owned businesses, an effort that Dream Exchange intends to participate in alongside these two powerhouse organizations.

I was honored to participate in this historic event. This is a critical time to influence public policy and to share our progress on opening the first majority black-owned stock exchange,” said CEO, Joe Cecala. “The goal for us has always been to empower innovators with access to capital, regardless of what they look like or where they come from. It’s not just platitudes for us, this is our mission.” 

Find out more about Dream Exchange here.

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