Featured Speaker – Michael Obi, Chairman and CEO, Spectrum Global Solutions, Inc.
Michael Obi is the Chairman and CEO of Spectrum Global Solutions, Inc. He helps economic development organizations develop robust and inclusive entrepreneur initiatives to accelerate the growth of businesses and job creation in communities. In following with his passion that minorities should be more involved in entrepreneurship and job creation, he led the effort that established the Entrepreneurship Center at the Urban League of Greater Cleveland in 2004. This model has now been replicated across 12 US cities. Michael continues to oversee the operations and strategies for the Entrepreneurship Center that helps over 900 clients per year to launch, grow and sustain thriving businesses in Northeast Ohio.
Most recently, Michael was appointed program manager for the Capital Access Fund (CAF) of Greater Cleveland. CAF, a collaboration of organizations and institutions in Greater Cleveland is an $8 million loan fund that seeks to provide African American and other minority business owners in Greater Cleveland with access to capital and pre-and post-loan counseling to ensure the success of those borrowers. The CAF program operates in partnership with the National Development Council (NDC), National Urban League’s Urban Empowerment Fund (NUL-UEF), The Urban League of Greater Cleveland (ULGC), and Morgan Stanley.
In 2008, Michael successfully led his company Spectrum Global Solutions, LLC in the purchase of development rights for Little Caesars Pizza in the Cleveland area. Spectrum currently operates four Little Caesars stores in Northeast Ohio and employs over 40 associates. In Michael’s own words “our stores are great instruments in the community to prepare young adults to be great business people and to possess strong work ethics.” On the global stage, Michael has successfully negotiated complex transactions in Hong Kong, mainland China, Nigeria and Italy. His company’s business portfolio includes global ownership stake in renewable energy, beverage distribution company and international procurement.
Michael earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and M.B.A. in Finance from the University of North Florida’s Coggin School of Business in Jacksonville, Florida. He has held executive leadership positions with various banks such as, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and SunTrust. Prior to launching Spectrum, he served as Senior Vice President for KeyBank’s Retail and Business Banking Segments where he led the Sales and Service Effectiveness Group. KeyBank awarded him the Chairman’s Award of Excellence, the highest honor given to its staff for high performance. Michael spent a total of 17 years in banking and financial services industry with in depth expertise in corporate banking, small business and retail banking, an unusual combination.
Michael is active in the community where he serves on the following boards: Cleveland Citywide Development Corporation (CCDC), Council of Small Enterprises (COSE), Presidents Council Business Chamber (Chairman), United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), and Opera Cleveland (2003 to 2010). He is a Partner with Social Venture Partners (SVP). He is a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2016. Michael and his wife, Anulika, are blessed with three children. They are active members of New Song Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where they help support global missions.
Session: Finding Money For Your Business