Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition

A Promise Partners Symposium

Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition: A Promise Partners Symposium


Have you ever thought about owning your own business, or are you seeking ideas to grow your existing company? 

Exit Planning Institute is supporting the first annual Promise Partners Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Symposium on October 27 at the Tinkham Veale University Center at Case Western Reserve University. 

What is a Promise Partner? 

Promise Partners is a Cleveland-based Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) non-profit mentorship group founded in 1992 by the late Weatherhead School of Management beloved business professor Richard L. Osborne and local attorney turned entrepreneur Patrick Morris.

Scot Lowry, Promise Partners Board Member
Sean Wenger, Managing Partner of Promise Partners

Scot Lowry, Promise Partners Board Member, and Sean Wenger, Managing Partner of Promise Partners, share, “Through the years, Promise Partners members have worked with many existing small business owners to find creative ways to grow their business and have mentored 62 aspiring business owners to go from employee to owner using various Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) strategies.”

Sean continues, “ETA is the path to becoming a business owner by buying and growing an established small business. For individuals with business skills and a desire to make a meaningful impact, this can be much less risky than starting a business around an unproven product or service.”

Becoming a Promise Partner

Scot Lowry shares, “Aspiring business owners can apply to be members of Promise Partners. The requirement for membership is a burning desire to become a business owner, a strong track record of producing results as a business leader/employee, and a willingness to support others seeking to achieve their dream of business ownership. 

He explains, “Promise Partner members join ‘flights’ that meet monthly with mentors (investors, current business owners, etc.) who help them refine strategies and take actions that help them become a business owner using Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition. Over 62 members have acquired over 85 businesses since the group’s founding due to this kind of support.”

The Symposium

Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) is the path to becoming a business owner by buying and growing an established small business. This can be less risky for individuals with business skills and a desire to make a meaningful impact than starting a new company around an unproven product or service.  

At this inaugural ETA Symposium, Promise Partners plans to bring together over two hundred current business owners, leaders with a goal of owning their own business, and experts in the local acquisition ecosystem to highlight this proven ETA strategy and local resources. 

Sean Wenger is excited to host this event and welcome new aspiring entrepreneurs to the organization. He shares, “Promise Partners, in collaboration with Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management, is having this event to share how over the past 30 years, they have helped over 60 people achieve their dream of business ownership, while helping many existing businesses access creative ways to grow and increase value of their company.”   

This half-day program will feature general sessions about ETA and breakout sessions for each audience in an interactive format.  Existing business owners will learn strategies to use this approach to unlock advanced growth and recruiting strategies.  Stories from actual owners and best practices related to small business valuation, the buy/sell process, and how to know if ETA is a fit for you will be discussed.

Who Should Attend?

The symposium is the perfect event for business owners looking for creative ways to grow their businesses or innovative ways to approach succession planning. Scot shares that existing business owners will learn about Promise Partners “Right Hand Person” apprenticeship program, uncommon growth opportunities, and alternatives to typical exit strategies. 

He explains, “If someone is considering selling their business, working with ETA entrepreneurs may lead to a transition that is better long term for the seller, existing team members, and vendors. ETAs entrepreneurs tend to build on strengths and take a business forward consistent with the founder’s vision. Suppose a competitor or private equity firm acquires a company. In that case, there is more risk that jobs might be eliminated, long-term vendors might be replaced or the strategic direction of the company might change. ETA investors are more likely to build on your strengths and legacy.”   

In addition to current owners, the ETA symposium provides general managers, executives, or business leaders with the knowledge needed to transition from their existing roles into ownership roles. Sean says, “At the event, aspiring owners can learn about the incredible ETA ecosystem in Cleveland and the resources that can help you explore this path.” 

Registration Information

Attend for only $49:  Half day 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, including continental breakfast and lunch.

Register for the event here.


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