This is a past event. View a recording of the webinar and EIG’s key takeaways for more information.

New businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy. They help keep the economy in a constant state of rebirth, replace dying industries, foster competition with incumbent companies, and produce new, higher-wage jobs. Minority and women-owned businesses, underrepresented but growing segments of the entrepreneur population, face structural challenges in starting and growing their companies. Join us for a discussion about COVID-19’s impact on American entrepreneurship and how policies like the New Business Preservation Act can support entrepreneurial ecosystems and minority and women-owned businesses across the nation to promote a more resilient and inclusive U.S. economy.

Hear from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) about the New Business Preservation Act, new legislation introduced to strengthen promising young and minority and women-owned businesses, followed by a panel discussion with Donna Harris (Venture Partner at Praxis and Founder of Builders + Backers), Eric Cromwell (Founding Member of Cromwell Schmisseur LLC), Jennifer Tegan (New York Ventures), and Ken Morris (Founder and CEO of KnectIQ), moderated by Chris Slevin (Vice President of the Economic Innovation Group).

Register here

Join us on Thursday, September 17, from 1:00 pm to 2:15 pm ET

Donna Harris is a Venture Partner at Praxis, the Founder of Builders + Backers, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of 1776 Ventures, and was previously Managing Director of the Startup America Partnership. Donna is a board member of both the Global Entrepreneurship Network and the National Center for Entrepreneurship, an Advisor to the Economic Innovation Group, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at The Busch School.

Eric Cromwell is an entrepreneurial leader focused on innovation development initiatives that improve U.S. competitiveness. Eric served as Tennessee’s first ever Director of Technology and subsequently led the restructuring and revitalization of the legislatively created Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (d/b/a LaunchTN) as its President and CEO. Eric started in the technology-based economic development field in Memphis, Tennessee, as the founding director of EmergeMemphis, a technology business incubator and was on the founding team that launched the FedEx Institute of Technology. Between 2012 and 2017, Eric served as a subject matter expert to the U.S. Treasury, providing technical assistance on state venture capital programs supported by the State Small Business Credit Initiative.

Jennifer Tegan is Managing Director of New York Ventures (a division of Empire State Development) which is a $100 million investment fund allocated towards direct equity investments into promising Series A round start-ups in New York State. Prior to joining Empire State Development Jennifer spent 18 years with Cayuga Venture Fund where she invested in and supported entrepreneurs in technology-based start-ups. Jennifer is also a member of the Board of Directors of Tompkins Financial Corporation and its affiliate bank, Tompkins Trust Company as well as serving the industry on the boards of the National Venture Capital Association and the Upstate Capital Association of New York. 

Ken Morris is the Founder and CEO of KnectIQ, a Minnesota-based cybersecurity firm. Ken is an entrepreneur, executive, and advisor with deep domain expertise in cybersecurity, medical devices, healthcare, financial services and IT/OT. Following years as an executive with Boston Scientific and Guidant Corporation, Ken founded several startups, including an award winning strategic advisory firm.

Chris Slevin is the Vice President of the Economic Innovation Group. Previously, Chris served in the U.S. Senate, most recently as Senator Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) legislative director, and as an economic policy advisor for Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). For over a decade, Slevin contributed to efforts in the Senate on a number of issues, including the State Small Business Credit Initiative, authorized in the Jobs Act of 2010, which provided capital to suppliers and other small businesses following the recession, and various trade bills.

Event Speakers

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. Senator

Donna Harris

Venture Partner


Eric Cromwell

Founding Member

Cromwell Schmisseur LLC

Ken Morris

Founder and CEO


Jennifer Tegan

Managing Director

New York Ventures

Event Moderators

Chris Slevin

Vice President

Economic Innovation Group