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June 07 2011

White House Urban Entrepreneurship Summit Hosted by Obama Administration and Rutgers Business School a Tremendous Success

Leaders from public and private sector united for all-day conference focused on unleashing ideas, urban entrepreneurship investment and the value of partnership

Newark, NJ – June 7, 2011 –On June 6, 2011, financial literacy and entrepreneurial empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE) took part in a summit hosted by the White House Business Council, the White House Office of Public Engagement, the White House Domestic Policy Council and the Rutgers Business School’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED). The all-day event focused on the power of the entrepreneurial spirit and focused on developing strategies to strengthen urban entrepreneurship.

Photo highlights from the event can viewed here.

Delivering the Closing Remarks, HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant noted, “When things get tougher, we tend to become stronger. That is why we stand shoulder to shoulder with President Barack Obama and his administration, as he strives to inspire Generation Entrepreneurship in urban America today.” The business bestselling author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: the New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World, and member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability continued, “Whether you are an entrepreneur or maybe a mother of two, desperately trying to figure out how to balance a family budget with too much month left at the end of your money, then this vision is for you.”

Break-out sessions and panel discussions were organized throughout the day, aimed at equipping established and budding business entrepreneurs with the tools and the backing to compete in the global economy.  

“If we as a country want to attract new jobs in all of our communities we have to do a better job of creating and supporting entrepreneurs in our nation’s cities and when we do that we see good wages and families will be able to thrive and that’s the only way to win the future,” said Don Graves, executive director for the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Michael Blake, the associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement continued, “We’re going to talk about how we can spark awareness. How do we spark the necessity of a new generation of urban entrepreneurs and say very clear, that there is a need to provide support about financial literacy and how to create business models so that members can support prospective mentees in business?”

Combining the power of entrepreneurs, private capital and government, participants gathered to discuss best practices and the power of partnerships to help businesses thrive in this tentative economy. Partners for the event included:

  • Michael Blake, Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement & Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Derek Douglas, White House Senior Advisor to the President for Urban Affairs
  • John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Operation HOPE, Inc.
  • The Honorable Cory Booker, Mayor, Newark, New Jersey
  • Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Russell Simmons, Founder, Rush Communications
  • Paul Quintero, CEO, ACCION USA
  • Bill de Blasio, New York City Public Advocate
  • Dr. dt ogilive & Dr. Jerome Williams,  Rutgers University's  Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED)

The day’s activities were launched by hip hop mogul Russell Simmons and were followed by a distinguished group of speakers found here.

The summit was in line with President Obama’s vision to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world – a plan critical for America’s cities. Recognizing that entrepreneurship plays a key role in creating jobs and economic opportunity for the American economy, the Obama Administration and today’s participants are committed to creating partnerships that support current entrepreneurs and spark a new generation of urban entrepreneurs. President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation  seeks to harness the ingenuity of the American people to ensure economic growth.

Accompanying Bryant and representing HOPE’s FIVE MILLION KIDS (5MK) Initiative – a national movement focused on addressing soaring levels of high school dropouts in urban communities by promoting relevant education and entrepreneurialism, 5MK Mid-Atlantic Chair Jeff Johnson joined the Generation Urban Entrepreneurship breakout session.

HOPE is focused on urban entrepreneurship through an array of programs such as the iHOPE Program, 5MK and Banking on Our Future that have inspired and educated almost 600,000 youth. A network of HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Centers are located throughout the country and provide adults with financial literacy and entrepreneurship training programs through a variety of economic education and entrepreneurship services.  

On February 5, 2011, in response to President Obama’s State of the Union call for entrepreneurship, HOPE hosted an event where volunteers comprised of White House staff, White House interns and students from the Howard School of Business, brought a message of empowerment, entrepreneurship and innovation to DC-area students.

About Operation HOPE, Inc.
Founded in 1992, social empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE’s mission is to expand economic opportunity in under-resourced communities through financial literacy education. HOPE promotes "silver rights" – making free enterprise and capitalism relevant and effective for the underserved. Raising more than $500 million and directing and restructuring nearly $500 million more in mortgages and economic support from the private sector, for a total of approximately $1 billion dollars in economic activity, HOPE seeks dignity and empowerment for all. Follow Operation HOPE at,, and

About The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED):  The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) at Rutgers Business School – Newark and New Brunswick is the first center of its kind in the nation to integrate scholarly works with private capital, government, and non-profit sectors to develop citywide resources and bring renewed economic growth and vitality through urban entrepreneurship. We promote and foster a new generation of urban entrepreneurs who actively seek socially conscious urban renaissance. For more information about CUEED visit