EconoCon25: National Summit of Thinkers Working for Small Businesses

Left to right: Julio Ortiz from  Opening Doors , Jessica Chittaphong from  AnewAmerica , Arturo A. Noriega from  Centro Community Partners  (Centro) and Claudia Viek of  CAMEO .

Left to right: Julio Ortiz from Opening Doors, Jessica Chittaphong from AnewAmerica, Arturo A. Noriega from Centro Community Partners (Centro) and Claudia Viek of CAMEO.

The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is one of the leading organizations in the United States focused on creating opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs. Their work leads micro-business initiatives that assist entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey - from idea to execution to growth.

Last week, Centro was in attendance at AEO's annual conference, EconoCon25 in Washington, DC. Arturo A. Noriega, our Founder and Executive Director, joined more than 500 other industry leaders working for non-profit organizations, community development, financial institutions and government organizations that advocate for small businesses in the country.

The conference was a summit of leading practitioners and the sharing of ideas. Leading minds in the micro-business space came to engage, collaborate, and innovate on some of the most pressing topics impacting our shared work.
— Arturo A. Noriega, Centro's Founder and Executive Director

Arturo served as a panelist in the town hall format panel "Trusted Guidance: Shifting the Support Landscape for Main Street.” In it, business service providers, funders and lenders discussed how to transform technical assistance into a scalable, sustainable, and high-impact guidance for micro/small business enterprises. A great opportunity for Arturo to share Centro's newly launched Basic Entrepreneurship Education Suite.  

Moreover, our goal at EconoCon25 was to show industry stakeholders Centro’s unique Business Planning App - a mobile technology that has been proven to succeed at providing technical assistance, entrepreneurship education and financial literacy across cultures and levels of education. We can't wait to see others joining in creating more technology in this field in the U.S. and the world!

At the conference, Centro earned the Award of Excellence from Kiva Zip for our outstanding work in achieving a perfect 100% rate of repayment on Kiva Zip microloans accessed through Centro’s programs. We are proud of this recognition, especially coming from Jonny Price, Senior Director at Kiva Zip. 

Arturo also returned home with insight we want to share. He said, "I learned that the enterprise development industry was actually born out of the women’s moment in the late 1960s. It really only took a small group of people with conviction which saw that women needed access to sustainable jobs." Some of these leaders included Bob Friedman, Lynne Cutler, and Claudia Viek, who are remarkable visionarys who continue working for more social justice and women today.