Interise Hosts Convening for Visionaries, Practitioners, and Small Business Owners to Close Wealth Gap

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Attendees work together to identify actionable solutions to address economic inequality and create an inclusive economy that works for everyone.

The overwhelming response to this sold-out event shows us that economic inequality is truly the number one problem to solve in America.

City of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Karyn Polito, and Darrell Byers, CEO of Interise, will open Interise2020 — a convening of visionaries, practitioners, and small business owners — to identify actionable solutions to close the wealth gap and end systemic inequality. Interise2020 is taking place from March 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor Hotel in Boston, MA.

“The overwhelming response to this sold-out event shows us that economic inequality is truly the number one problem to solve in America,” said Byers. “I am looking forward to the bold ideas that will be presented by our speakers and panelists, encouraging us all to work together to create an inclusive economy.”

Over three days, Interise2020 combines invigorating TED-style SolveIt Talks, interactive plenary sessions, and business strategy roundtables. The schedule includes a mix of insightful, challenging, and necessary conversations on the role of each individual and organization to close the nation’s wealth gap. On March 9, attendees will identify and commit to three actionable solutions to pursue. On March 10-11, attendees will convene for hands-on, tactical breakout sessions.

“An ecosystem approach that takes all stakeholders into account—including entrepreneurs, minority business support organizations, intermediaries, government entities, and the private sector—is the only approach that will create change at the scale we need in order to achieve significant impact,” said Gary Cunningham, President and CEO of Prosperity Now. “Interise2020 provides a forum for stakeholders to collaborate on innovative solutions to reach the impact we want in creating an economy that works for everyone.”

Panels at Interise2020 ranged from discussion of systemic barriers facing small businesses that are minority-owned or located in low-income communities, to commentary from business owners who in their companies strive to hire individuals who face barriers to employment.

"It costs our communities when minority-owned businesses do not scale up because we miss the opportunity to create jobs, build wealth, and provide goods and services in the neighborhoods that need them most,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, CEO and President of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Interise2020 provides the business sector and civil society an opportunity to align priorities and actions in order to create the inclusive and prosperous economy that our country deserves.”

“Living Cities is excited to bring the ideas and insights from Interise2020 to our own work as we design what we are calling the Closing the Gaps Network—a network of US cities who will come together over the next decade to reckon with the history of structural racism, and to develop policies and practices to create a future in which all people thrive,” said Ben Hecht, President & CEO of Living Cities.

During the convening, Interise will release data from fifteen years of surveying its national network of 8,000+ small business owners. The data makes clear that small business development is a proven strategy that closes the wealth gap, powering wealth and job creation across race and place.

Data from Interise’s 15-Year Report shows that

  • Interise companies have created 157,301 jobs, earning $11.9 billion in new contracting, and $1.2 billion in new capital.

Across race, Interise companies grew revenue by a median annual revenue growth rate of 47%; minority-owned companies grew at a faster rate.

  • Interise businesses created jobs at 6x the rate of the private sector.
  • At the intersection of place and race, minority-owned companies in low-income communities secured less capital; additionally, black-owned companies earned lower revenues.

Other Interise2020 speakers include Malia Lazu, Regional President and EVP Chief Experience and Culture Officer, Berkshire Bank; Ralph Moore, President, RGMA; Jennifer Rodriguez, President and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Howard Wial, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City; Dr. Jeffrey Sterling, President & CEO, Sterling Initiatives; Elizabeth Reynoso, Associate Director of Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities; Kevin S. Dick, President and Chief Executive Officer, Carolina Small Business Development Fund; Andrew Wolk, Founder & CEO, Root Cause; and Jen Faigel, Executive Director, CommonWealth Kitchen.

About Interise
Interise builds an inclusive economy through small business development, supporting the growth of minority-owned small businesses and small businesses located in low- and moderate-income communities. Interise’s award-winning StreetWise ‘MBA’™ uses a peer-learning method to provide business owners with the knowledge, know-how, and networks necessary to grow and scale. As Interise companies grow, they contribute to local job creation and build community wealth. Interise companies historically create new jobs at 5x the rate of the private sector, and are responsible for the creation of over 30,000 new jobs. Interise partners with government agencies, anchor institutions, and business associations to make locally branded StreetWise ‘MBA’™ programs available in 75+ cities, nationwide. Strategic Growth Partners include the Kauffman Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and the Prudential Foundation. More information can be found at @StreetWise_MBA and at

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Craig Panzer
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