Dream Exchange CEO Sponsors the TraderForum Conference and Shares His Mission with Financial Industry

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Jigar Vyas
SVP Marketing and Member Registration

I recently had the privilege of attending the TraderForum Conference in Miami, Florida, with Dream Exchange Founder and CEO, Joseph Cecala. As someone who deeply believes in the wealth building potential of our public capital markets, I found this gathering to be a wonderful networking experience. The TraderForum Conference served as a powerful platform for industry leaders, buy/sell side portfolio managers and traders, and financial professionals to engage in meaningful discussions about the evolving landscape of financial markets.  

Amidst the bustling atmosphere, Mr. Cecala  took the stage to articulate our mission and purpose. His impassioned discourse shed light on the pressing need to bridge the gap in minority access to capital, a mission that lies at the core of the Dream Exchange. 

One of the key issues highlighted by Mr. Cecala was the IPO markets and how since the late 1990’s not only has the total number of public companies declined by nearly 50%, the number of small initial public offerings (IPOs) has declined from 70-90% of the IPO market to just 20-30%, according to a white paper written by Joe Cecala and Ioannis Floros in 2018.   

Thus, lack of funding for small companies has a significant impact on their growth, geography they serve and overall national growth. This lack of funding stifles innovation and competitions and creates a geographical and demographic divide. 

The harsh reality facing Black American entrepreneurs is starkly evident in the statistics, revealing a significant and concerning trend. According to McKinsey, a mere 4% of Black-owned businesses manage to navigate through the challenging startup phase, underscoring the formidable barriers they encounter. These businesses not only face the typical hurdles of entrepreneurship, but also grapple with the added challenges of debt, difficulties in raising capital, and a notable absence of beneficial relationships within the business community.  

The systemic obstacles that Black entrepreneurs confront from the inception of their ventures contribute to a dishearteningly low survival rate during the critical early stages. This is why access to capital through the public capital market system is so critical. Dream Exchange’s strategic alliance with the National Black Chamber of Commerce is a testament to our commitment to fostering an environment that promotes fairness and humanity back into our public capital market system. 

The mission of Dream Exchange goes beyond just being a savvy business decision; it is a commitment to democratizing the current infrastructure, paving the way for a future that is not only economically sound but also just and equitable. Enter the Main Street Growth Act, a legislative proposal aimed at rectifying this imbalance. Mr. Cecala stressed the importance of this legislation, emphasizing how it could open doors for smaller companies by easing the regulatory burdens associated with going public. By leveling the playing field, the Main Street Growth Act has the potential to foster a more accessible environment where diverse voices can thrive and contribute to our economic landscape. 

Dream Exchange exists for small and emerging enterprises, visionary individuals from all backgrounds who seek a place to list and trade their stock. This is why we believe that collaboration with the financial community at large, and sponsoring conferences like the Trader Forum is essential to creating an ecosystem where every entrepreneur has a fair shot at success.  

Our mission serves as a catalyst for change and stands as a beacon of hope. It is about the people and their ideas and how those ideas make our society better. We believe that together we can build a future where innovation knows no bounds and where the dreams of entrepreneurs, regardless of their background, can flourish on a truly level playing field. 

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