For nearly twenty-five years Karen Kerrigan’s leadership, advocacy and training work has helped foster U.S. entrepreneurship and global business growth. She is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) and is the group’s chief advocate for its members.
Kerrigan regularly testifies before the U.S. Congress on the key issues impacting entrepreneurs, business growth and the economy, and has been appointed to numerous federal advisory boards including the National Women’s Business Council,the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialog, the U.S. Treasury’s Taxpayer Advisory Panel, and the National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions of U.S. Free Trade Agreements.
Kerrigan regularly engages with the President’s cabinet and key advisors, and has spoken or led roundtables at various White House economic summits, the Small Business Administration, U.S. Treasury Department and other federal government agencies and departments. Kerrigan is a collaborative and well-respected individual within the advocacy and business community who has led numerous coalitions and initiatives with diverse partners and organizations on a range of issues including trade, health care, access to capital, tax and regulatory reform, intellectual property and others. She has written hundreds of Op-Eds and newspaper columns, and regularly appears on national television and talk radio programs.
Kerrigan has been called America’s “entrepreneurial envoy” and “small business ambassador” for her extensive speaking, knowledge sharing and capacity-building work overseas. Among many other countries she has traveled to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Israel, Morocco, Nepal, and the Palestinian territories on behalf of the U.S. State Department to work with business leaders, women entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, and government officials on developing and enacting reforms, programs and best practices to encourage entrepreneurship and business growth. Kerrigan is a board member and former Chair of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), one of the core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy, which works to strengthen democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reforms. Kerrigan is a founding member of the World Entrepreneurship Forum and has provided counsel to business associations across the globe regarding entrepreneurial development, capacity building, policy formation and advocacy.
“The hardest working woman in show business,”The Hill
Kerrigan was presented with the “Crowdfundie Award” at the 2017 Global Crowdfunding Convention for her leadership and advocacy on crowdfunding issues. In November of 2017, the Global IP Center of the U.S. Chamber presented Kerrigan with its “Excellence in Advocacy” award for her work on strengthening IP protections, and for her advocacy and outreach regarding the importance of IP to healthy investment and entrepreneurship.
In 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 she was named a Top 100 Champion Small Business Influencer bySmall Business Trends.CEO World Magazine named Kerrigan a“Top Power Woman in Crowdfunding” (November 2013), and in May 2016 she was presented with the New Capital Markets Leadership Award by the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA) and Crowdfund Capital Advisors for her steadfast leadership and work in making equity and debt-based crowdfunding legal. In November of 2009, Kerrigan was awarded the “Small Business Advocate of the Year” by the NY Enterprise Report.
Among media accolades, Inc. Magazine named Kerrigan to its small business “Best Friends in D.C.” (2006) list as a “power broker and activist”with “serious clout” for entrepreneurs; Fortune Small Business to its “Power 30” list (2000); and The Hill newspaper to its “most influential small business” list (2006) describing Kerrigan as “the hardest working woman in show business.”In 1995, National Journal named Kerrigan to its short list of “K Street” activists most likely to have an impact on Capitol Hill. Campaigns and Elections Magazine named her as one of its “Rising Stars in Politics” in its April 1996 issue.
She lectures frequently at colleges and universities across the U.S. and the world, having to make appearances at Harvard Business School, Georgetown University, University of Maryland, Ohio State University and others. Kerrigan graduated from SUNY Cortland with a B.A. in Political Science, and resides in Northern Virginia.