ExO World: Small Business Summit!

Surviving 2020 | Creating a Thriving Future

Yes, this event has passed but the good news is that you can access all the recordings from the recent ExO World: Small Business Summit and more via our Digital Replay offer.


50+ speakers and sessions spread over 10 hours of jam-packed agenda to bring together thousands of people across the world to listen to keynote presentations, interact in small curated breakout sessions, network with one other via a special networking feature and visit interactive exhibition booths. All of this from the comfort of your homes, completely and 100% online. 

This event is inspired by previous ExO World Events that have brought thousands of people together. We are bringing people together to create hope. We believe that we can transform the world for a better future by using the power of technology and an SDG-lens to co-create a bright future.

Major Topics: Access to Capital, Mental Agility and strength, Employee Retention, Re-invention of yourself and your Business, Exponential Understanding and Mindset.

Who Should Attend?

Business Owners

If you own a small business and are wondering how you will survive 2020, this Summit is a must

Business Managers

For people running day to day operations it is important to understand what you need to do to survive and thrive

Business Investors

Come and see what small businesses are doing and invest in the future!

Aspiring Entrepreneurs

If you are looking to start a business now is a great time to understand what is possible.

"That was the best event I've ever attended"

-Valentine Stockdale, Managing Director, Strategy at Blueprints

"This Conference is AMAZING."

- Bill Gross, Founder - Idea Labs

"Brilliant, much better than face-2-face in a lot of ways." 

-- Anastasia Utesheva, Co-Founder - DnA Pathways

ExO World: Small Business Summit! is a global one-day online event which features speakers from various industries and disciplines. The entire event will be live-moderated by Salim Ismail and will carry us from the current challenges facing our world to envisioning positive future scenarios and finding our own individual role in making this future a reality, NOW!

Most importantly, ExO World: Small Business Summit! will be co-created with each one of you. We are looking forward to seeing you on the inside.



Here are a few snippets from some of our previous speakers


What to Expect on the Agenda

All times are Pacific Time and this agenda is being updated as new speakers become available. The final Agenda will be posted in the Digital Venue.

Key messages:

  • We are in a post-Covid world and won’t go back to ‘normal’
  • There are 3 key forcing functions for SMEs - technological change, climate change and economic & societal change
  • There are challenges ahead but also business opportunities of a lifetime
  • We will help SMEs survive 2020 and thrive in 2021

Selected sessions:

  • Host Salim Ismail and co-host Michele Bongiovanni
  • Fireside Chat with Paul Polman
  • ‘Zoom Out - Zoom In’ method with John Hagel 

Key messages:

  • Current situation - old structures are breaking down (Economy, Climate, Society)
  • We are not on track towards Sustainable Development Goals
  • Support for SMEs is limited and insufficient
  • SMEs need to take charge to survive 2020 in 3 domains - Finance, Operations & Strategy
  • Let’s build a roadmap to survive 2020 and thrive in 2021

Selected sessions:

  • Price of Tomorrow with Jeff Booth
  • Future of Microfinance with Julie Hanna
  • Impact Funding with Sonal Shah

Q&A Sessions + Networking + Break 9:00 - 9:45

Opportunity to interact with all the plenary speakers from the past block of sessions, open own rooms with discussion topics or network with other participants via 1-1 networking.

Leaving the Past Behind 9:45 - 10:00

Before we start looking into the future, we will perform a short transition activity to help us re-imagine the future from scratch.


Key messages:

  • To thrive in 2021, SMEs need to tap into 3 new positive trends
  • New macro opportunities such as the increased connectivity of our world, transition to a just and sustainable economic system and unprecedented entrepreneurial empowerment
  • Exponential technologies opening new markets and impact opportunities
  • Innovative scalable business models giving birth the new players disrupting all established industries


Selected sessions:

  • Artificial Intelligence with Neil Jacobstein
  • Blockchain with Anne Connelly
  • Biotechnology with Raymond McCauley
  • Digital Manufacturing with Scott Summit
  • Showcase of innovative companies and their business models in Education, Finance, Health, Food, Automation, Manufacturing, Energy and Transportation

Q&A Sessions + Networking + Break 12:15 - 13:00 

Company Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) Design 13:30 - 14:00

Key messages:

  • To navigate the time ahead, each company needs its own ‘north-star’ that guides it towards its destination and serves as a compass in difficult times
  • A Massive Transformative Purpose expresses the core unique essence of each company and captures how it can positively shape the world when it succeeds
  • An inspiring Massive Transformative Purpose helps the company build a passionate and supportive community and complementary partnerships with other organizations

Selected sessions:

  • Massive Transformative Purpose design exercise
  • Massive Transformative Purpose networking sessions

Tools &  Methodologies Workshops 14:00 - 15:00

Key messages:

  • There are already many available tools SMEs can use to survive their present and build their future
  • It is through a disciplined application of supportive tools and development of regular business habits around them that SMEs can successfully navigate the time ahead
  • Belonging to a supportive community and partnering with others can help to overcome difficult times as well as one’s own stress and other difficulties

Selected sessions (TBC):

  • ExO Canvas tool
  • Access to Capital
  • Mental Health
  • Covid SME Toolkit
  • Forecasting & Scenarios
  • Simple business model canvas
  • ExO Sprint methodology
  • Sci-Fi Hive
  • Lucid Game
  • Moonshot Design

Break 15:00 - 15:30 

Action Toolkit 15:30 - 16:30    

Open Space time to work on next steps within focus areas and/or SDG groups

Launch 16:30 - 17:00 

Hosts Salim Ismail & Michele Bongiovanni reflect on the flow and key highlights of the entire day and provide inspiration and foundation for continued momentum of what was created together.

"Wow! I don't know what else to say. "

Stephen Kotler
New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning journalist. As the Executive Director at the Flow Research Collective, he is one of the world’s leading experts on high performance.

"ExO World was a truly global digital experience that connected thousands of like-minded individuals who are working hard towards creating a better world. I love this tribe!"

Kelley Rowe
OpenExO Member & Attendee

"ExO speakers' messages are important and together as leaders we need to help manage this current change for the betterment of our people and the planet."

Sonal Shah
Founding Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation and Professor at Georgetown University.

Why are we running this Summit?

COVID-19 has caused numerous SMEs to shut down, particularly if not considered ‘essential’.  It has caused numerous others to scale back greatly, per the instructions of economically destructive healthcare dictates across the planet. Today, millions of SMEs are precariously poised on the edge of failure – with the prospect that their business models, consumer buying patterns, and supply chains will never return to previous patterns. 

Learn More

Should I Attend?

Are you unsure of what the event may be like and have some doubt about whether you should attend? If so click below to get a sneak peak of talks and sessions from previous events


Speakers from ExO World Summit