A fresh face joining the helm of a leading lobbying organization for entrepreneurs is expected to bring Midwest perspective and representation to the fight to create more jobs through the innovation economy.
Joni Cobb, the founding president and CEO of Pipeline Entrepreneurs — a Kansas City, Kansas-based network of startup founders now led by executive director Melissa Vincent — this week was announced as chair of the board of directors for the Center for American Entrepreneurship.
“CAE understands that critical innovation comes from entrepreneurs — and that talented entrepreneurs reside in every part of our county, not just in the famed coastal hubs,” said Cobb. “It is an honor to be selected to lead such an impressive board of individuals who have spent their careers supporting entrepreneurship across the country and who share the belief that our nation’s public policies should encourage rather than deter our best and brightest entrepreneurs. I thank John and the entire board for their confidence in me to lead at such a momentous time for our country’s entrepreneurs.”
The Center for American Entrepreneurship is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan research, policy, and advocacy organization. It engages policymakers in Washington, and at state and local levels across the nation, regarding the critical importance of entrepreneurs and startups to innovation, economic growth, job creation, and opportunity expansion — and to pursue a comprehensive policy agenda intended to significantly enhance the circumstances for new business formation, survival, and growth.
Cobb has been a member of CAE’s board since the organization’s launch in July 2017.
Her diverse industry background includes technology, biosciences, law, board management, communications, government relations, media, and film, according to CAE. She currently assists boards and high growth companies with strategy, execution, and marketing initiatives.
During Cobb’s 14-year tenure at Pipeline, the entrepreneur network produced significant financial impact — creating more than $1.39 billion in revenues, raising more than $608 million in outside capital, conducting business in over 85 countries and creating more than 2,700 jobs, according to Cobb.
For this work, Pipeline was recognized in 2016 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation with its “Uncommon Award” for excellence in entrepreneurial programming — awarded in honor of Ewing Kauffman’s 100th Celebration.
Cobb stepped down from her role at Pipeline in 2020.
“As the founder and CEO of Pipeline, Joni is an entrepreneur herself and has worked directly with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years,” said John Dearie, president of CAE. “She understands the importance of startups to innovation, economic growth, job creation, and opportunity expansion, as well as the needs and priorities of entrepreneurs — as business founders and as people.”
“Joni has been a prominent innovation and entrepreneurship leader in Kansas City and throughout the Midwest for many years and has long-time relationships with scores of innovation ecosystem leaders at universities, accelerators, incubators, and entrepreneurship centers of various kinds,” he continued. “As chair of CAE, Joni will bring an authentically Midwest mindset and pragmatism to national entrepreneurship policy and will be an effective advocate for heartland entrepreneurship with U.S. policymakers in Washington, D.C.”
Click here to learn more about the Center for American Entrepreneurship.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.