2023 Small Business Summit

The DC Chamber of Commerce 2023 Small Business Summit will convene leaders from across local & federal governments and the small business industry for a deep dive into the state of the District of Columbia’s small business industry and the future vision, policy, and programs for all businesses.

Program Attendee – Complimentary


  • Entrance to Makers Market, networking opportunities and morning program
  • Continental Breakfast
  • Attendance at featured workshops throughout the day


Awards Luncheon Attendee – $125 (Members) and $175 (Non-Members)


  • All of the above, plus 1 ticket to the Small Business Awards Luncheon with plated lunch (ticket is non-transferable)

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship opportunities are now open! Showcase your brand, network with local leaders, and gain exposure. Click the button below to learn more.

Small Business Awards

Each year the DC Chamber of Commerce honors the success of small businesses who have contributed to the business and economic growth of our community. As valued Chamber members and community partners, we encourage you to submit nominations in any or all six of the award categories:

  • Small Business of the Year
  • Small Business Person of the Year
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Non-Profit Organization of the Year
  • Small Business Champion of the Year
  • Women in Business Champion of the Year

Program Agenda

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Jacquay Henderson is Founder and CEO of the award-winning technology consulting firm Square Peg Technologies. The firms core competencies are in Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and technology design. They use the latest technologies to help the United States government Intelligence Community and Department of Defense in solving the nation’s most intriguing and challenging data issues pertaining to national security.

Jacquay is active in the business and technology communities and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the DC Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chair of the Small Business Advisory Council for the DC Chamber of Commerce, Contributing Member to Washington Business Journals Leadership Trust, Board of Advisors for the Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Department at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, where he is guiding engineering research experiments and where he has dedicated his company resources to a joint venture with the College of Engineering and the National Science Foundation’s Technology Infusion Program (TIP) which is geared towards boosting enrollment and enhancing the experience of minority students at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Lastly, he and his company are members of Department of Defense’s – Space Enterprise Consortium where they are prototyping and building the next generation of space technologies for NASA, Air Force and Space Force.

Jacquay holds a Bachelors and Masters in Industrial Engineering from Florida State University. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), holds a certificate from the MIT Sloan School of Management in Artificial Intelligence, a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and was named Small Business Person of the Year in 2019 by the DC Chamber of Commerce.

Ryan Chaffo is a senior business banking relationship manager for the Personal and Business Banking team in the Washington, D.C. Regional Center. His primary responsibility is to grow City National Bank’s presence in the Greater D.C. market through client and talent acquisition, alongside a targeted marketing strategy.

With more than 14 years of experience in commercial and business banking for various organizations Mr. Chaffo joined the DC Regional team in 2017. Prior to joining City National, he was a vice president, business banking relationship manager for M&T Bank, where he worked in both the New York City and Maryland markets.

Mr. Chaffo serves as an Executive Committee Member on the Board of Directors of the DC Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. He is a resident of Annapolis, Maryland, where he lives with his wife and two children. Outside the office, he enjoys spending time with his family boating and fishing on the Chesapeake Bay.

Kenyan R. McDuffie, Councilmember for Ward 5, was first elected to the Council of the District of Columbia in a 2012 special election, and re-elected to full four-year terms in 2014 and again in 2018.

Since 2013 he has served as the Chairman Pro Tempore of the Council. Since 2017, Kenyan has served as the Chairperson of the Committee on Business and Economic Development where he has championed efforts to make the District’s economy more inclusive and support minority- and women-owned local businesses. Previously, Kenyan served as Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary, where he oversaw sweeping updates to the District’s criminal justice law.

Kenyan successfully passed comprehensive juvenile justice reform and also passed the innovative Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act (NEAR Act) which reforms the District’s criminal justice system by incorporating behavioral and mental health professionals to perform tasks that previously fell to law enforcement officers.

Prior to joining the Council, Kenyan worked extensively in the legal and public safety fields. Kenyan served as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He has also worked as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Prince George’s County and as policy advisor to the District of Columbia’s Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice.

Kenyan graduated summa cum laude from Howard University and went on to receive his Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law. Nationally, Kenyan has been featured on NewsOne Now, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. Kenyan and his wife, Princess, live in his childhood home in Ward 5 with their two daughters, Kesi and Jozi.

Prior to joining the DC Chamber of Commerce as Interim President & CEO, Angela Franco was the Senior Advisor for Business Development at the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX) where she is responsible for collaborating with the Hispanic and business communities as well as local and Federal Government.

Prior to joining DCHBX, Angela was the President and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC) from 2009 to 2017. Under her leadership, the organization was strengthened and revitalized as evidenced by its dramatic membership growth from 60 members when she started to 670 members upon her departure. It also experienced a 500% increase in operating revenue during her eight years of service. She led the organization in regaining the trust of its members, partners and sponsors.

The Washington Business Journal ranks the GWHCC among the Top Five Chambers of Commerce in the DC Metro Region. Before Angela’s arrival, it had never even made the list. In 2015, the GWHCC was named Chamber of the Year by the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and in 2013, received that organization’s award as the best midsized Chamber in the nation.

While at GWHCC, Angela pioneered the development of successful membership programs. She promoted business-to-business networking and synergistic relationship building, created training programs for owners of startup enterprises, built a bridge between the DC Metro Region and Latin America, and appeared before numerous government agencies as an advocate for the interests of regional Hispanic and minority businesses. Because of her passion and commitment, more than 70% of the Chamber’s members have grown their businesses and increased their ROI.

Morning Keynote

Schaefer is Founder and CEO of a chain of Ace Hardware stores located in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, MD, Alexandria, VA, Takoma Park, MD and Silver Spring, MD. She is a passionate entrepreneur who grew her company from one to 13 stores in 18 years and now leads a multimillion-dollar business that employs more than 250 people. She is dedicated to maintaining a strong corporate culture. Schaefer’s big passion is for developing urban markets, supporting small businesses and helping women to succeed in all aspects of the hardware industry. She has tirelessly focused on the “Return to Main Street” movement in her own city of Washington, D.C., to promote Shop Local campaigns and community revitalization in urban areas.

Schaefer draws her inspiration from fellow entrepreneurs who strive to be creative, think differently and help make a difference. People like Judy Wicks, founder of the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia who inspired her to use her voice as a force for good; Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, founders of gourmet food group Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Michigan, from whom Schaefer learned innovative business strategies and Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, who taught her that nonprofit organizations need to think beyond simple charity.

When her busy schedule allows, Schaefer likes to relax by making greeting cards (she’s a big believer in the power of the written note), kayaking, taking spin classes, traveling, reading and, of course, mentoring other small business owners.

Workshop A: Create Your Own Success: A Workshop on Starting Your Business

1st session: 10:00am-10:45am. 2nd session: 11:30am-12:15pm

Karima M. Woods is the sixth Commissioner of the District of Columbia’s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB). Mayor Muriel Bowser nominated Woods on January 21, 2020 and the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously confirmed the nomination on July 28, 2020.

In her role, Commissioner Woods serves as the chief financial services regulator for the District’s financial services industries, including insurance companies, captive insurance companies, investment advisors, securities broker dealers, mortgage loan originators, mortgage lenders and brokers, state-chartered banks, student loan servicers and money transmitters. The Commissioner is also responsible for managing financial empowerment and education programs that include the Opportunity Accounts Program, Financially Fit DC, and the forthcoming Financial Empowerment Center. The Commissioner also administers the District’s access to capital programs pursuant to the Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative. The Commissioner oversees, for Fiscal Year 2023, the Department’s $37.4 million budget, 157 employees and approximately $45 million in revenue.

Woods has over 20 years of experience in community and economic development with a focus on providing strategic leadership, organizational development, stakeholder engagement and global outreach to businesses and community organizations. Woods served in various leadership positions during her tenure with the District of Columbia government including Director of Business Development and Strategy, Deputy Director of Business Development, and International Business Manager. Her leadership has led to the successful execution of Mayor Bowser’s economic strategy and helped to drive the District’s business attraction and retention efforts across key business sectors.

Woods serves on several boards and commissions, including as Executive Board Member of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority, member of the Board of Directors of the Washington DC Economic Partnership, and member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Special Committee on Race and Insurance.

Woods holds a Master of Business Administration from George Washington University and Bachelor of Arts in law and society from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Woods is married and lives with her husband and two daughters in Washington, DC.

Mr. Carl Brown has held executive and leadership positions in a variety of industries in the private and public sectors. He has been called a “Transformational leader” by Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr., publisher of Black Enterprise magazine.

Mr. Brown has over two and a half decades of experience; he currently is a Supervisory, Contracting Officer for the District of Columbia, and prior to that he was a small business counselor at the Howard University Small Business Development Center. Mr. Brown served five years as the Executive Director at the Center for Minority Business Development. His previous work history includes: Manager for Business Development, DBE Programs, Director of Civil Rights, and Acting Assistant General Manager for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA); Senior Contracts Manager at Verizon Communications; Director of Human Resources at Pepsi-Cola of Washington; Senior Purchasing Agent, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission; and as a Procurement Specialist at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Carl has a reputation for being fair, honest and a policy guru. He has written legislation in support of strengthening minority business programs and contract compliance. He has provided volunteer leadership support to the City of Bowie Economic Development Committee; Boy Scouts Troop 1559; and the City of Bowie Education Committee. He is the former President of Northview Elementary School and a graduate of Leadership Montgomery in Montgomery County, MD. He has uniquely served as a Human Relations Commissioner in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, MD. When campaigning for a seat on the Bowie City Council the newspapers called him “Blunt Taking Brown, he will tell you the truth like it or not.”

Mr. Brown is a visionary who uses his gifts to help empower the minority business community. He recently received a certificate in Government Contracting from George Washington University; has a certificate as a Contract Compliance Administrator, (CCA), from Morgan State University. He earned a MGA, from University of Maryland University College; and a B.A. from Howard University; a Masters Certificate in Human Resource Management from University of Maryland University College; and a Certificate in Leadership Development from the University of Maryland Executive Leadership Institute. Mr. Brown is the recipient of numerous awards and citations for his work in the community and with minority owned businesses.

Married to Evelyn Brown, they have twins, a son and daughter who have been on the honor roll every year and both are involved in scouting.

As the newly appointed Interim Director of the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP), Shirley Kwan-Hui is a seasoned administrator who brings over 20 years of executive leadership experience in across both the public and private sectors.

Most recently the Deputy Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), she served as the strategic advisor to the agency Director and ensured successful execution of policies, strategies, and operations across the agency.  She was responsible for overall agency performance and data management, the Office of Information Services (OIS), operations, and administrative functions including budget and finance, procurement and contract management, human resources, facilities, and risk management. Also, she oversaw special and consumer protection investigations, customer service and account management.

Before joining DCRA, she was the Chief of Staff for the Department of For-Hire Vehicles (DFHV) having previously served as the Chief of Operations. At DFHV, Shirley managed day-to-day operations and implemented strategic initiatives for the agency .

Earlier in her career, she was the Program Manager of Agency Performance Accountability at the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO). There, she managed the agency performance, grants, and audit functions.  She was also the TechStat Program Analyst for the Strategy and Special Operations Division, OCTO, where she also led strategic planning and policy development.

Prior to joining the District of Columbia government, Shirley served as the Assistant Treasurer and previous as the Senior Accountant, Asset Servicing Global Operations at the Bank of New York Mellon. At Deutsche Bank, she also served as the Client Accounting and Reporting Administrator.

Shirley received a B.S. in Business Management, with a concentration in Finance, from the Binghamton University, State University of New York. Additionally, Shirley is a graduate of the District’s Executive Leadership Program (ELP).

Workshop B: Growing Strong: Building and Expanding Your Business

1st session: 10:00am-10:45am. 2nd session: 11:30am-12:15pm

Ronnette Meyers is President and CEO of JLAN Solutions, a leading provider of management, training, and information technology services to Federal, state, and local government.

After an extensive career as a Federal employee, Ms. Meyers helped found a small, woman-owned government contractor, serving as Senior Vice President for Corporate Services. She was an integral part of the company’s development into an award-winning business with over $34 million in annual revenues.

In 2010, having honed her executive management and leadership skills, Ms. Meyers took the leap and founded her own firm, JLAN Solutions, LLC. JLAN now serves numerous Federal and DC government agencies. Ms. Meyers’ leadership and stellar reputation for integrity and quality service have earned her numerous accolades, including the Washington Business Journal 2020 Minority Business Leader Award, DC Chamber of Commerce 2020 Women in Business Champion of the Year, DC Department of Small and Local Business 2018 Certified Business Enterprise of the Year and acceptance into the highly selective Goldman Sachs 10k Small Business program.

Among her philanthropic activities is service on the board of the Dreaming Out Loud Foundation, Bishop McNamara High School and she supports the Wounded Warriors, Project Giveback, GrantEd, Luke’s Wings, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, and many other charitable organizations and endeavors. 

Just as she was inspired when growing up on the grounds of the Ramstein United States Air Force Base in Germany, Ronnette Meyers was exposed at an early age to the importance of public service. It is clear that the lessons she learned there have inspired her life and her career trajectory, as she has made it her mission to give back to her country and her community.

Mr. Gomez is Founder and CEO of Factum Global, a boutique international consulting firm dedicated tohelping businesses and associations expand and operate across global markets. As leader of the firm, hisvision is to establish Factum Global as the most trusted international consulting source for organizationsexpanding internationally. Mr. Gomez has significant experience in international strategy andoperations, and association management. He has successfully managed complex operations and helpedbuild profitable businesses across the globe.

Prior to founding Factum Global in 2018, Mr. Gomez served as Director of Global Strategy and MarketDevelopment at the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, where he leda multi-function department, consisting of international operations, marketing and sales, research andproduct development, and member services. He was also a member of ACS’ Global Steering Committeeand was responsible for growing the association’s global reach. Prior to joining ACS, Mr. Gomez workedas a consultant for G&G Consulting, serving clients focused on strategic planning and organizationaleffectiveness. He also served as District Manager at the Healthcare Services Group Inc., where hedirected a multi-million-dollar operation in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

Mr. Gomez is a serial presenter and has contributed to numerous conferences and events on topicsranging from business strategy and innovation, to international operations and leadership. In addition,he has instructed courses on global cultural sensitivity, international expansion, and leadership. Mr.Gomez earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration and management from MarshallUniversity, and earned his MBA from the Kogod School of Business at American University. In addition,he earned an executive education certificate on Leading Global Businesses at Harvard University. Anative of Colombia, Mr. Gomez is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and enjoys traveling, is an avidgolfer and is a soccer enthusiast.

Larry G. Webb has served as District Director of the SBA’s Washington Metropolitan Area District Office (WMADO) since August 16, 2021. He leads a team that provides business development services, training and support to entrepreneurs and partner organizations throughout the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland. Among the SBA’s 68 district offices, WMADO manages the agency’s largest portfolio of participating firms in the 8(a) Business Development Program.

Webb joined the SBA as Senior Legal Counsel in 2011. In this role with the SBA’s Office of General Counsel, he chaired the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Task Force and implemented public-facing enforcement reporting. Webb was also appointed to the Executive Steering Council, which oversaw the modernization of the agency’s loan management and accounting system. In addition, he served as a labor and employment attorney for the SBA, where he was the designated SBA representative before a variety of administrative bodies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Among Webb’s responsibilities was training and advising SBA management on employment, labor, performance and disciplinary matters. His most recent position was lead attorney for SBA’s Outreach and Marketing Team, during which he oversaw public-private partnerships, gifts to the SBA, memoranda of understanding, branding, social media and marketing. He also provided advice to the SBA on the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and delivered government-wide training sessions through the General Services Administration (GSA).

Prior to joining the SBA, Larry G. Webb served as Assistant Director of Law for the City of Cleveland, where he worked primarily as a civil litigator for the City’s self-sustaining business enterprises. During his tenure, he helped the Office of Equal Opportunity streamline and bolster its enforcement procedures, which ultimately led to the City collecting the largest fine ever levied against a prime contractor. Additionally, Webb served as Vice President of the Norman S. Minor Bar Association (NSMBA), founded in 1980 as Cleveland’s first full-fledged African American bar association. His earlier roles include being a criminal defense attorney, an executive director of a nonprofit organization and a business analyst.

Larry G. Webb holds a Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri. He and his husband currently reside in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Since February of 2011, Ms. Resil has served as the Business Certification Manager for the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program within the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD). She is responsible for monitoring over 1900 certified businesses and contributes to the District’s spend with small CBEs by providing the supply needed to meet the statutory requirements of the CBE program. Last fiscal year, the District spent over $975 million with CBEs that maintain the program’s small subcategory.

Prior to her assignment with DSLBD, she served as a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Compliance Officer for the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development (DMPED). Through her tenure there, she applied her compliance expertise in federal regulations and laws governing (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) funding sources for housing and economic development projects throughout the District.

Ms. Resil is a Certified Public Manager within the District. She is a resident of Ward 8 and an active member of the Washington, DC Chapter (Gamma Chapter) of the national business and professional women’s organization, Iota Phi Lambda Sorority Incorporated.

Vanessa Foster is the Growth and Retention specialist at WBEC Greater DMV, with a passion for women’s growth and success. Throughout her career, she has dedicated herself to uplifting women and people in need, including working at the Department of State, where she assisted spouses and families of federal employees overseas, and at the non-profit organization, So Others Might Eat (SOME), which focuses on helping the homeless find housing and medical care.

With a desire to continue helping women and others, Vanessa joined the WBEC Greater DMV network nearly two years ago. Initially, she was part of the certification team, ensuring that women-owned businesses met the gold standard of certification. Currently, as the Growth and Retention specialist, her primary objective is to promote the benefits of WBENC certification and encourage women to join the network, where they can receive support.

Sharon R. Pinder is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC). — a non-profit corporation whose mission is to link corporations and government agencies with competitively viable Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). A renowned expert in entrepreneurial diversity and inclusion, Pinder has transformed the landscape for minority and women owned businesses, leveling the playing field and creating increased opportunities for these businesses to succeed. Pinder may be best known as Maryland’s first appointed cabinet Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs and for her work as the architect of Maryland’s minority and small business reform movement. During her first three years in this position, the number of contracts awarded to Maryland’s women and minority businesses increased by $1 billion. She was also responsible for the creation of the Small Business Reserve Program – the country’s first state level set aside for small businesses. Her work has served at a model for other states. Pinder also created the Top 100 MBE Awards© program. In its 13th year, it is the region’s premier recognition ceremony for minority businesses. At CRMSDC, Pinder continues to bring change and innovation. In the first 18 months of her tenure, CRMSDC won $4 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) for a new MBDA Business Center, Washington, DC, and the nation’s only Federal Procurement Center solely dedicated to helping MBEs obtain federal contracts. In 2021, Pinder was awarded the grant to operate the MBDA Business Center, Virginia. She also has implemented several signature programs significantly enhancing services to both corporate members and MBE suppliers. For the last three years, CRMSDC has been recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of the Top 25 Largest Business Advocacy Groups in Greater Washington, DC. Prior to taking the helm at CRMSDC, Pinder served as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development (MWBD) for the City of Baltimore. As a member of the Mayor’s cabinet, Ms. Pinder was responsible for the management of the City’s minority and women business programs. During Ms. Pinder’s three-year tenure she developed and implemented the supplier diversity and inclusion strategy for the City. Prior to her appointment with the city, Ms. Pinder was Chief Executive Officer of The Pinder Group, and the founder of the Center for Business Inclusion and Diversity. 2 | P a g e Prior to her tenure in diversity and inclusion, Pinder spent over twenty-five years in the information technology sector in organizations such as USF&G (now Traveler’s Insurance) Equitable Trust Bank (now Bank of America) and General Electric Information Systems where she played a significant role in leading GE onto the Internet. Pinder has a Master of Science Degree in Technology Management from the University of Maryland University College where she had the honor of serving as Professor of Practice in the School of Graduate Studies and is the 2004 Alumnae of the Year. In 2014, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore named a scholarship, the Sharon Pinder Award for Entrepreneurship, in her honor.

Workshop C: Connecting the Dots of the Procurement Process

1st session: 10:00am-10:45am. 2nd session: 11:30am-12:15pm

Vandana Sinha is editor-in-chief for the Washington Business Journal, where she oversees the digital and print operations for the publication. She joined the newsroom in 2006 and had covered biotech, health and energy before moving into editing roles.

Before the WBJ, Sinha was an associate editor at the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at the American Press Institute, helping develop content for business journalism training programs around the country. She has worked at The Virginian-Pilot, the daily newspaper in Hampton Roads, as well as at technology publications formerly owned by The Washington Post Co. 

George A. Schutter, III is an accomplished leader with broad experience in diverse environments in operations, strategy, business development, and executive leadership as well as deep experience in the fields of finance, procurement, and contracts.

Mr. Schutter is currently the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for the District of Columbia where he leads the DC Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP) and oversees over $5.6 billion worth of acquisitions for over 76 District agencies. Appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, Mr. Schutter is charged with the overall leadership, implementation and coordination of procurement activities in accordance with the laws and regulations of the District of Columbia. Supported by a staff of 228, Mr. Schutter is also responsible for audit and compliance of procurement activities; certifying personnel in District procurement; and overall agency operations.

Prior to joining the District of Columbia Government, Mr. Schutter served as TechnoServe’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), an international non-profit providing business solution to poverty, where he led financial strategy, procurement, grants, contracts, and systems coordination throughout the TechnoServe global network in over 30 countries.

Mr. Shutter was previously Grant Thornton’s Global Public Sector Executive Director in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, where he opened regional operations in Dubai’s International Financial Center and developed offices in Iraq.  He also supported procurement and contract initiatives with the Iraqi government.

Before Grant Thornton, George was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Peace Corps for four years following serving as the Director of the Office of Contracts for three years as well as the Peace Corps’ first Chief Acquisition Officer. At Peace Corps, he was the leader and architect of a reorganization of the global financial and contract management organizations, a reengineering of the integrated strategic planning and budgeting process, the development and certification of an enterprise-wide financial management system, and the development of an internal controls/quality assurance international governance program.

Mr. Schutter has negotiated international contracts with parties ranging from multi-million dollar Fortune 100 corporations to critical sole source services with sole proprietors in post-conflict countries, and has developed organizational acquisition policy and procedures that are common sensible, meet international standards, and are culturally acceptable.

He is a former Major in the US Marine Corps serving for 10 years domestically and abroad, including four years as a Director of a Regional Contracting Office.  He has led international efforts on procurement reform, financial management reform, change management, transparency, management strategies, policy formulation, process reengineering, as well as capacity building efforts in developing countries. He has experience in more than 75 countries and is an expert in international finance, procurement, contracts, change management and negotiations.

Mr. Schutter is a licensed Certified Public Accountant, Certified Professional Contracts Manager and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He holds degrees in Accounting from the Illinois Institute of Technology and an M.S. in Acquisitions and Contracts Management from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

He is a resident of the District of Columbia where he lives with his daughter.

Denise Benjamin Sirmons serves as the Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, responsible for leading the EPA’s efforts to advance the business, regulatory and environmental compliance concerns of small and disadvantaged businesses.

Denise has served in various leadership positions at the EPA, including in the Office of Diversity, Advisory Committee Management and Outreach, Office of Grants and Debarment, and the Office of Acquisition Management. Before joining the EPA, Denise was the Assistant General Counsel for Contracting at the U.S. Small Business Administration, and worked as a litigator for a major national law firm.

Denise holds a Master of Laws Degree in Government Procurement Law, with Honors, from George Washington University Law School. She also earned a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Howard University Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Patricia A. Tobin Government Contracts Award. She has also published articles in the Public Contract Law Journal and the Howard Law Journal.

Luncheon Speakers

Retail Workshop 1: Retail Beginner's Guide


Retail Workshop 2: Marketing Your Retail Business on a Budget


Retail Workshop 3: Scaling Retail Business in Post Pandemic Era (Big retailers)


Conversations with Local Retail Legends

Workshop Development Conversations

  • 7:30 AM – Registration Opens
  • 8:00 AM – Makers Market Opens
  • 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM – Opening Remarks & Continental Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM – 9:45 AM – Morning Retail Keynote
  • 9:45 AM – 10:00 AM – Makers Market
  • 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM – Workshops
    • Workshop A – “Create Your Own Success: A Workshop on Starting Your Business”
    • Workshop B – “Growing Strong: Building and Expanding Your Business”
    • Workshop C – “Connecting the Dots of the Procurement Process”
    • Workforce Development: “Overview of the Workforce System and Skills-Based Hiring”
    • Retail Workshop: “Retail Beginners Guide”
  • 10:45 AM – 11:30 AM – Makers Market & Coffee Break
  • 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM – Workshops
    • Workshop A – “Create Your Own Success: A Workshop on Starting Your Business”
    • Workshop B – “Growing Strong: Building and Expanding Your Business”
    • Workshop C – “Connecting the Dots of the Procurement Process”
    • Workforce Development: “Overview of the Workforce System and Skills-Based Hiring”
    • Retail Workshop: “Marketing Your Retail Business on a Budget”
  • 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM – Small Business Awards Luncheon
  • 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Speed Business Matchmaking & Networking. Makers Market. Retail Workshop: “Scaling Your Retail Business in the Post Pandemic Era”


The DC Chamber of Commerce would like to thank our sponsors and partners.

.... Sponsor

... Sponsor

2023 Small Business Summit


May 09 2023


7:30 am - 3:30 pm


Washington Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place Northwest, Washington, DC, USA