Jason Johnson

Director of Small Business Network

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Jason Johnson is Director of the Small Business Network at Next Street.  In this role, Jason works to increase coordination within local, regional, and national small business ecosystems and efficiently mobilize the social, financial, and knowledge capital within these networks to support small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Before joining Next Street, Jason was Director of the Chicago Urban League Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. He led programming that supported client businesses in acquiring 400 new contracts worth $120,000,000 and $25,000,000 in new financing. He has also been a featured subject matter expert and contributor for Forbes, is a doctoral candidate in Organizational Leadership at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and an adjunct professor at Illinois Institute of Technology.

As an entrepreneur, Jason launched and operated a boutique advisory firm that provided strategy consulting, web development, and brand consulting to small to medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations from 2009-2013.  He also was co-founder and CEO of Konveau, an app that uses personality compatibility to help people break the ice at networking events.  Jason is also an accomplished speaker and provides keynote addresses and performs entrepreneurship-inspired hip-hop music under the moniker Notorious B.I.Z.

On working at Next Street

“My passion is working to support systemically disadvantaged entrepreneurs and small businesses.  Next Street provides me an opportunity to continue this work, but at an ecosystem-wide level.”

Outside of Next Street

When he’s not at work, Jason can be found exploring all that Chicago has to offer with his wife Jody and precocious toddler Jahar. He also enjoys doing transcendental meditation and playing with his VR headset, first-person view drone, 360 cameras, and other gadgets.