Skip to main content

42nd Annual Small Business Forum

March 30, 2023

The Forum is a unique event where members of the public and private sectors gather to provide feedback to improve capital raising policy for startups to smaller public companies and their investors. The event is hosted by the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation pursuant to the Small Business Investment Incentive Act of 1980.

The 42nd Small Business Forum took place over four 90-minute virtual sessions April 24-27, featuring appearances by each of the Commissioners and an exciting line-up of speakers with fresh perspectives on capital raising.

Each day focused on a different topic facing small businesses, including:

Exploring the Early-Stage Landscape:

Trends and Strategies in Capital Raising

Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystems:

Laying the Groundwork to Support Small Businesses and Their Investors

Investing in Small Business:

Successes and Challenges Facing Smaller Funds

Accessing the Public Markets:

Becoming and Staying a Public Reporting Company

2023 Forum Report

On September 26, 2023, the Commission delivered the 2023 Small Business Forum Report to Congress. The report summarizes the 42nd annual Forum proceedings, including the recommendations developed by participants for changes to improve the capital-raising framework and the Commission’s responses to those recommendations. Reports and materials from prior Forums are also available.

Learn more about this year’s panelists below.

Exploring the Early-Stage Landscape: Trends and Strategies in Capital Raising

OASB business forum 2023 spearker: Jennifer Garcia headshot

Jennifer Garcia
Chief Operating Officer, Latino Business Action Network
San Francisco, CA

Jennifer is Chief Operating Officer for Latino Business Action Network (LBAN), a nonprofit organization that promotes Latino entrepreneurship in the United States. Under her leadership, LBAN facilitates the Business Scaling Program at Stanford University, building an ecosystem of over 1,000 Latino and Latina mentors, capital providers, and corporate partners. In addition to her role at LBAN, Jennifer founded Fluential Leadership, a company working with small-to-medium-sized businesses to develop and execute growth strategies. Prior to LBAN, Jennifer spent twelve years at Bloomberg L.P., where she held numerous leadership positions, including managing the Asset and Investment Management Product Specialist Team and the fixed income and foreign exchange electronic trading teams. Jennifer is the Co-Author of Hispanic Stars Rising – The New Face of Power, which showcases successful Latino leaders.

Edna Martinson Square headshot

Edna Martinson
Co-Founder, Boddle Learning
Tulsa, OK

Edna launched Boddle Learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, and today the AI-enabled, interactive, educational gaming platform has helped 4 million elementary-age students across the U.S. tackle learning gaps and improve math proficiency. Boddle’s first investors are located in the Midwest/Southwest, including venture funds focused on building technology companies in America’s heartland. Edna emmigrated from Ghana and was recently recognized in the Forbes 30 under 30 Class of 2023.

Laura Simão square headshot

Laura Simão
Head of Lendistry Capital Partners and Public - Private Partnerships, Lendistry Capital Partners
New York, NY

Laura is a seasoned impact investor with over 15 years of experience. Most recently, she served as a Vice President in the Urban Investment Group within Goldman Sachs Asset Management and the head of the access to capital component of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses. A recognized investor and thought leader, Laura has been tapped to advise senior government officials at the federal, state, and local levels on creating strategies, policies and designing ecosystems that leverage public and private sector resources to create opportunities and equitable access to capital to entrepreneurs. She has led the design and execution of several public-private partnerships and investment funds to support minority entrepreneurs, including in New York City and Chicago.

Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Laying the Groundwork to Support Small Businesses and Their Investors

Betty Francisco square headshot

Betty Francisco
CEO, Boston Impact Initiative
Boston, MA

Betty is CEO of Boston Impact Initiative, a social impact investment fund investing to close the racial wealth divide in New England. She is also co-founder of Amplify Latinx – a social venture working to build Latinx economic and political power in Massachusetts. Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Boston last year by Boston Magazine, Betty serves on the Board of Directors of Beth Israel Lahey Health, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, The Boston Foundation, and Roxbury Community College.

Ian Hathaway square headshot

Ian Hathaway
Co-Founder and General Partner, Far Out Ventures
Santa Barbara, CA

Ian is Co-Founder and General Partner of Far Out Ventures, a pre-seed and seed stage investor in marketplace, vertical SaaS, and fintech companies. Previously, he was Senior Vice President at Techstars, where he led the firm’s investment strategy and fund analytics, and launched the Techstars pre-accelerator program. Ian has been an advisor to leaders in technology, finance, and venture, including Index Ventures, Google, and Goldman Sachs. He is also co-author of the Startup Community Way, a book about entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Brian Hollins square headshot

Brian Hollins
Founder and Managing Partner, Collide Capital
Brooklyn, New York

Brian is Founder and Managing Partner of Collide Capital, a venture firm investing in a diverse array of founding teams. He is also Founder and CEO of Takeoff Institute, a non-profit equipping Black undergrads with the necessary resources to launch a successful career, and is a Founding Board Member of BLCK VC, an investor ecosystem for Black investors looking to make a career in venture. Previously, Brian worked at Goldman Sachs where he helped launch the Emerging Entrepreneurs Coverage group to extend resources and capital to early-stage founders and deploy over $100 million of capital as a software investor for GS Growth Equity.

Investing in Small Business: Successes and Challenges Facing Smaller Funds

OASB business forum 2023 spearker: Riat Astoor headshot

Rita Astoor
Head of Venture Capital Business Development and Product Advisor, Carta
San Francisco, CA

Rita is Head of Venture Capital Business Development and a Product Advisor at Carta. She leads the business development strategy and operations for Carta’s investment management products, engaging with law firms, tax and audit providers, banks, asset managers, and other partners across the venture ecosystem. She also works with the product team to help solve client and industry needs. Prior to joining Carta, Rita was an investment funds associate at law firms Latham & Watkins LLP and Norton Rose Fulbright US, LLP. Rita is also a Lecturer at UC Berkeley School of Law.

Jay Bockhaus Square headshot

Jay Bockhaus
Managing Partner, Center on Rural Innovation’s (CORI) Innovation Fund
Westport, CT

Jay is Managing Partner of the Center on Rural Innovation’s Innovation Funds, which invest in growth businesses located across rural communities in the United States. Prior to joining the Center on Rural Innovation, Jay served as Executive Advisor to the Chairman at Emigrant Bank and led investments in several small growth businesses. He has over 20 years of investment and management experience in media, sports, and banking industries. Jay also serves as the Treasurer for Venture for America, through which he actively mentors entrepreneurs building startups across the country.

Dana Guthrie Square headshot

Dana A. Guthrie
Managing Partner, Gateway Capital Partners
Milwaukee, WI

Dana is Managing Partner at Gateway Capital, a venture capital firm focused on Wisconsin-based, early-stage startups. Prior to her current role, Dana founded and managed Alchemy Angel Investors, an angel investment network. She founded Alchemy while being employed full-time at a Fortune 500 company and managing a multi-million dollar, global product offering. Dana is also a two-time patent recipient.

Accessing the Public Markets: Becoming and Staying a Public Reporting Company

Kristen Grippi Square headshot

Kristen Grippi
Senior Managing Director, Evercore
New York, NY

Kristen is Senior Managing Director and Head of Equity Capital Markets at Evercore, where she leads the team responsible for sourcing, structuring, and marketing IPOs, private placements, follow-ons, and convertible offerings for clients across all industry sectors. Previously, Kristen led the Industrials Equity Capital Markets Group and Equity Syndicate at Goldman Sachs. Prior to covering industrials clients, Kristen worked with companies in the financial institutions and financial technology sectors for nearly 10 years. With 23 years of experience working in Equity Capital Markets and Growth Capital, Kristen has advised on over 500 bookrun transactions, including IPOs and follow-on offerings.

Hillary Holmes Square headshot

Hillary Holmes
Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Houston, TX

Hillary is a partner in the Houston office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Co-Chair of the firm’s Capital Markets practice group, and a member of the firm’s Securities Regulation and Corporate Governance, Energy, M&A, and ESG practice groups. Her practice focuses on capital markets, securities regulation, and corporate governance. Hillary represents issuers and underwriters in many forms of capital raising transactions, including IPOs, registered offerings of debt or equity, private placements, joint ventures, structured investments, and sustainable financings. Hillary has received recognition as a leading capital markets lawyer and dealmaker in the United States, having led complex transactions and capital raising strategies for companies of all sizes.

Tim Hwang headshot

Tim Hwang
Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder, FiscalNote
New York, NY

Tim is Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of FiscalNote, a global technology and media company that delivers policy news in an evolving world. While at FiscalNote, Tim has raised more than $230 million in venture capital and acquisition financing. Tim served on the Montgomery County Board of Education, where he oversaw a $4B budget and 22,000 public employees. Profiled in numerous national publications, including Forbes 30 Under 30 and Business Insider’s Top 25 Hottest Startups, Tim also serves as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and as a trustee or board member for several regional and national non-profit organizations.

Return to Top