past event
Finance and Assets

Business Ownership and the Racial Wealth Gap: Expanding the Growth of Minority-Owned Firms

Audio (MP3)

To download, click here.

One of the factors that has contributed to the racial wealth gap is lower levels of business and financial assets held by African Americans and Latinos. Business and financial assets are a critical tool for individuals to diversify and grow their wealth. Although rates of business ownership among African Americans and Latinos have been growing during the past decade, their firms remain smaller and less likely to survive than those owned by white entrepreneurs. Business Ownership and the Racial Wealth Gap: Expanding the Growth of Minority-Owned Firms will explore the factors that inhibit the growth of Latino and African-American owned firms, and the practices and policies that can be effective in strengthening their ability to contribute to wealth and job creation and to overall economic growth.


Featured Speakers

Marla Bilonick
Executive Director, Latino Economic Development Center

Marla Bilonick was named executive director of the Latino Economic Development Center in 2014. She rejoined LEDC in 2012 as director of small business development after first working at the organization in 1999 as a microloan officer. As executive director, she leads LEDC’s regional efforts to drive the economic and social advancement of low- to moderate-income Latinos and other DC and Baltimore area residents by equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve financial independence. Prior, she worked for Seedco with entrepreneurs in Lower Manhattan New York that were impacted by the 2001 attacks of 9/11 so that they could be retained and could grow. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received her Master of Arts degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies-SAIS.

Veronica O. Davis
Co-owner and Principal Planning Manager, Nspiregreen

Veronica O. Davis, PE is a transportation nerd who uses her knowledge to spark progressive social change in the community. Currently, she is a co-owner and principal planning manager at Nspiregreen LLC. In July 2012, the White House recognized her as a Champion of Change and Transportation Innovator for her professional accomplishments and community advocacy in the District of Columbia. Veronica is one of the co-founders of Black Women Bike, an organization and movement that encourages African American women to use biking for health and wellness as well as an alternative form of transportation for commuting. She holds a dual Masters Degrees (Engineering Management and Regional Planning) from Cornell University and a B.S in civil engineering from the University of Maryland. She is a registered professional engineer in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Alicia Robb
Senior Fellow, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Dr. Alicia Robb is a senior fellow with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. She has previously worked with the Office of Economic Research in the Small Business Administration and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. She is also a prolific author on the topic of entrepreneurship. In addition to numerous journal articles and book chapters, she is the co-author of Race and Entrepreneurial Success published by MIT Press, as well as A Rising Tide and The Next Wave by Stanford University Press. She is the founder and CEO of Next Wave Ventures, an active angel investor and mentor to startups, on the Advisory Board for Global Entrepreneurship Week and the Deming Center Venture Fund, and is a guest contributor to outlets such as The Huffington Post and Forbes.

Maya Rockeymoore
Founder, President, and CEO, Global Policy Solutions LLC

The founder, president, and CEO of Global Policy Solutions LLC, a social change strategy firm, and the Center for Global Policy Solutions, a nonprofit think and action organization, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore is dedicated to making policy work for people and their environments. With more than twenty years of experience in the government, not for profit, and business sectors, Rockeymoore has directed successful research and advocacy strategies for an array of nonprofit, philanthropic, academic, and corporate clients. The recipient of many honors, she was named an Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow in 2004. Rockeymoore has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, CNN, Fox News, and C-SPAN among other media outlets.



Gillian B. White
Senior Associate Editor, The Atlantic

Gillian B. White is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic where she writes and edits a broad range of topics related to economics and business (including housing, poverty, and economic policy). White also oversees The Atlantic’s Next Economy project, which focuses on telling stories about the economic wellbeing of cities around the country. Previously White was an editor at Kiplinger. Her work has also appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Bloomberg, and MarketWatch. White holds a B.A. in economics and political science from Columbia University and an M.S. in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School. She currently resides in Washington DC.


Related Resources

Narrowing the Racial Wealth Gap through Business Ownership
Joyce Klein & Jenna Liang, FIELD at the Aspen Institute, 2015

Prison to Proprietor: Entrepreneurship as a Re-entry Strategy
Joyce Klein & Lavanya Mohan, FIELD at the Aspen Institute, 2016

Including People of Color in the Promise of Entrepreneurship
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2016


Join the conversation on Twitter #racialwealthgap




Event information
Tue Dec 13, 2016
12:00pm - 1:30pm GMT+0000
The Aspen Institute
One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036