Who Am I?

Me with Steve Case, Founder of AOL and Rise of the Rest Tour (top) and with Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (bottom).

So who the heck am I and why would you care what I have to say?

I encourage you to visit the How I Help New Business Owners page to learn why you should care and how I might be able to help you build your business, but here’s  a little about me:

  • I’ve worked in entrepreneurship from every angle – I’ve owned small businesses, been employed by startups, worked as an outside consultant for companies (both new and established), run an entrepreneurship center, and even worked briefly at a venture capital firm, so I know how the entrepreneurship world works from both sides of the table
  • Before I got all of this experience, however, I came from a non-business background: I got an undergraduate degree in sociology and critical social thought before working, then going back to school for my MBA, so I completely understand the feeling of knowing you’re smart enough to do this but not understanding all of the lingo being bandied about
  • I take great pride in my ability to explain business concepts in very straight-forward terms – I once had a student at an executive education program at Dartmouth ask me for help understanding a concept and give me a huge hug afterward because he said he’d asked dozens of people (including the Dartmouth professor) for help and I was the first person to explain it to him in a way that made sense
  • If you want the resume version of an About Me page, check out my Linkedin profile here
  • I’m a proud Irish Boricua


I was honored by Fit Small Business when it named New Venture Mentor as one of the Best Entrepreneurship Blogs of 2015 and again as one of the Best Entrepreneurship Blogs of 2016 along with amazing people like Richard Branson, Derek Halpern, Paul Graham, and others:FSBPromo

I am one of the Porsche Power 30 Under 30 for 2016:Collage

I was appointed by the Governor of Illinois to the State of Illinois Business Enterprise Council for Minorities, Females, and Persons with Disabilities and appointed by the Mayor of Chicago to the Chicago Task Force on Removing Barriers to Employment and Entrepreneurship and named one of the Chicago Heroes Project’s Heroes of Chicago. I am on the WiSTEM Advisory Council at 1871, on the Illinois SBDC Advisory Board, and serve as a coach for entrepreneurs in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business’ Program Rocket Pitch and the Points of Light Civic Accelerator. 

I’ve also been featured or quoted in a number of business publications including:


For the first couple of years of my life as an entrepreneurial nomad, I spent some time in each city I visited getting to know some of the coolest entrepreneurs, investors, and incubator and accelerator managers. I haven’t updated this blog in quite some time (though you never know, it may get revived at some point), but if you’d like to hear from the awesome entrepreneurship peeps I met, check out the Startup Nomad blog (my most recent post is below):

  • Startup Nomad Interview with Tenecia Brown (Houston) This week Startup Nomad is catching up Tenecia Brown, the Founder of Gradeness, a mentor at Yes We Code, and the leader of Houston’s Ms. Tech Group. We talked about leaving corporate America, choosing co-founders, being a woman of color in tech, and the entrepreneurial ecosystems in Houston and Austin. Check out the video below ...

If you’d like to see some of my travel adventures (though I haven’t updated this one in ages either), check out the Where in the World? blog (my most recent post is below):

  • Barcelona I’ve always wanted to go to Barcelona. I’ve traveled a ton and I had been to Spain before, but not to Barcelona, and the city had always had an allure to me that few places I’ve never been to do. Given that, when it was time to disembark from my 11-day transatlantic cruise over to ...


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If there’s anything you’d like to see on this site (a blog topic perhaps?), please just shoot me an email at cate(at)thevccgroup(dot)com and let me know.