Travelers Institute and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Co-Host Forum with Kansas City’s Top Small Business Leaders

April 25, 2012

“Small Business – Big Opportunity” Panel Aims to Raise Awareness of and Advocate for Economic Opportunity

KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today convened regional leaders from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Small Business Administration, as well as local business owners, to discuss economic opportunities for the state’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. Small businesses account for a significant share of the region’s economic production and hiring, representing nearly 98 percent of Missouri’s employers and nearly 97 percent of Kansas’ employers according to the SBA.

“As one of the nation’s largest insurers of small businesses, we understand the fundamental role they play in the health of the economy, and we are committed to helping identify solutions to the daily challenges small businesses face,” said Joan Woodward, Travelers Executive Vice President of Public Policy and President of the Travelers Institute. “By working with state agencies and entrepreneurial-focused organizations like the Kauffman Foundation, we believe we can help create an environment where small businesses can thrive.”

Bob Litan, Vice President of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, said, “Our research continues to highlight the importance of a healthy entrepreneurial climate. Small businesses, new ones in particular, are the backbone of the economy and our goal is to support these entrepreneurs by advocating for a vibrant business environment across the country. We are thrilled to partner with the Travelers Institute on its ‘Small Business – Big Opportunity’ series, as it’s an excellent platform on which to accomplish those goals.”

Woodward moderated the panel, which featured a Missouri-based small business owner and economic leaders, including:

  • Pat Brown-Dixon, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Jim Heeter, President, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
  • Bob Litan, Vice President of Research and Policy, Kauffman Foundation
  • Danny O’Neill, Owner, The Roasterie, Inc.

At the event, panelists discussed barriers to accessing necessary financing, while offering tips for obtaining small business loans. In addition, panelists touched on other business challenges impacting small business growth and job creation, including risk management, business continuity planning and regulatory burdens. Specifically, they discussed challenges in getting permits and licenses, as well as meeting requirements at the local level.

The Kansas City symposium is the seventh small business forum the Travelers Institute has held since 2011, following events in Morristown, N.J., Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and Saint Paul. In addition, the Travelers Institute has hosted events in conjunction with the Latino Coalition, Small Business California, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and other business advocacy groups and released a white paper, “Small Business – Big Opportunity,” outlining its principles for advocacy.

About the Travelers Institute
The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc., engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance to the insurance marketplace and the financial services industry. The Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers' senior management and the technical expertise of many of Travelers' underwriters, risk managers and other experts to provide information and analysis to public policy makers and regulators. Travelers is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. For more information, visit

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. In addition, the Foundation focuses on initiatives in the Kansas City region to advance students’ math and science skills, and improve the educational achievement of urban students, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory charter school for middle and high school students. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit, and follow the Foundation on and

Ashley Maagero, 860-277-2954
Kauffman Foundation
Elizabeth Steinberg, 816-932-1136

Source: Travelers