Chatham News

Chatham University hosts Obama Administration’s Startup America: Reducing Barriers Roundtables on April 28

Administration officials will hear from entrepreneurs on ways to reduce barriers, encourage business growth

By: Paul A. Kovach, Chief Communications Officer
April 26, 2011

PITTSBURGH (April 26, 2011) … Chatham University and its Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship will serve as the Pittsburgh host for “Startup America: Reducing Barriers Roundtables,” a White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation, on Thursday, April 28 beginning at 9:00 a.m. This coordinated public/private effort brings together an alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders, working in concert with a wide range of federal agencies to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of America’s entrepreneurs.

As part of the White House’s Startup America initiative, senior Obama Administration officials will visit eight sites around the country, including Pittsburgh to meet with entrepreneurs and hear directly from them on ideas and suggestions for reducing barriers and improving regulations to build a more supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. Officials attending the event at Chatham’s Shadyside Campus include Assistant Secretary of Commerce John Fernandez, Deputy Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office Teresa Rae and Senior Economist at the Council of Economic Advisors Ronnie Chatterji.

“Chatham is honored to be selected as one of the eight host sites around the country for this event,” said Esther L. Barazzone, Ph.D., Chatham President. “As an entrepreneurial institution, we know the importance for businesses to break the mold and develop programs that address both workplace needs and careers of the future. I look forward to welcoming our guests and helping the Obama Administration to learn from our success.”

Rebecca Harris, director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship, added, “Entrepreneurs are the backbone of economic growth and this is a great opportunity for regional entrepreneurs and senior administration officials to work together to strengthen the economy and promote innovation. We especially hope that the administration will learn the value that women entrepreneurs bring to the table since they continue to develop many successful and innovative small businesses throughout the United States.”

According to a recent study by American Express Open, Pennsylvania is ranked seventh among all 50 states with approximately 282,600 women-owned firms, an increase of 40 percent since 1997. However, the state lags in revenue growth at women-owned businesses during that same period, coming in 36th place.

Carl Knoblock, director of the Small Business Administration’s Pittsburgh district, notes that “Startup America is an excellent tool to really give businesses the opportunity to speak up for a change about all the barriers that challenge them from being really successful, not only from the regulatory barriers that are commonly thought of but also from financial and other barriers that are not typically considered.”

“What’s unique about Chatham University being selected is that Chatham is a small yet innovative university that has integrated sustainability throughout its mission to reduce its carbon footprint,” Mr. Knoblock added. “Chatham is taking leadership role in sustainability and that is what we want small businesses to do in the future and hopefully reducing existing barriers will help them get there.”

According to The White House, the Startup America initiative will support startups and entrepreneurs, giving them the tools and resources to grow America’s economy and win the future. Using the input from the roundtables and broader public participation, the Administration will produce a report highlighting ideas to streamline and simplify unnecessary barriers to America’s entrepreneurs and innovators.

The core goals of Startup America are to increase the number and scale of new high-growth firms that are creating economic growth, innovation, and quality jobs; celebrate and honor entrepreneurship as a core American value and source of competitive advantage; and inspire and empower an ever-greater diversity of communities and individuals to build great American companies.

The morning schedule includes:
9:00AM Welcoming Remarks
• Esther Barazzone (President, Chatham University)

Panel: Opening Comments on State of Entrepreneurship
Moderated by Ronnie Chatterji (Senior Economist, Council of Economic Advisors)
• John Fernandez (Assistant Secretary, Department of Commerce)
• Teresa Rae (Deputy Director, United States Patent and Trademark Office)
• Karina Edmonds (Technology Transfer Coordinator, Department of Energy)
• Earl Gohl (Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission)
• Rich Lunak (President & CEO, Innovation Works)

10:00AM Break (Move to Breakout Rooms)

10:15AM Breakout Sessions

11:30AM Break (Move to Main Room)

11:45AM Quick Summary and Closing Comments

12:15PM Event End

About CWE
The mission of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University is to educate, create economic opportunities, and foster entrepreneurial thinking for women entrepreneurs, women in business, and students. The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE) provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs in both new development and growth stages of their businesses to start, develop and significantly grow their companies by utilizing Chatham resources, programs, faculty expertise, and student assistance. CWE also provides programming targeted to local and regional women in business. This programming is designed to teach women in business how to think and act entrepreneurially by focusing on innovation and creativity within the context of an existing organizational environment. And finally, CWE offers specific programs for both undergraduate and graduate students which help them learn the skills needed to become either successful entrepreneurs or successful women in business. For more information about programs offered by CWE call 412-365-1253 or visit

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information call 800-837-1290 or visit