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Corporation For Economic Opportunity

"Prosperity for All"

The Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CEO) is a non-profit corporation, which helps disadvantaged communities and individuals begin to reach their full economic potential. Our goal is to promote prosperity for all.

CEO's staff and strategic partners design and implement new economic and community development initiatives, secure program and project funding and financing, and help develop and strengthen partnerships with public and private entities capable of improving the economic status of our clients.

CEO provides the following services and assistance to its various clients and those who would invest in such targeted communities:

Local Governments, Communities, Business Groups and Institutions

  • Develop and implement an Economic and/or Community Development Strategy
  • Assist or Serve as Project Manager
  • Secure program and/or project funding and financing
  • Develop strategic partnerships that support local growth and jobs

Corporations and Real Estate Developers

  • Find attractive, cost-effective sites
  • Develop strong partnerships with local government and the community
  • Secure and develop creative funding, financing and incentive packages
  • Help to include local and minority businesses in projects

Small and Minority Businesses

  • Secure cost-effective managerial and technical assistance from a variety of sources
  • Secure creative sources of funding and financing
  • Promote company growth through project participation initiatives and expanded procurement opportunities



Joseph J. James is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CEO), a non-profit economic development organization that helps disadvantaged individuals and communities reach their economic potential. On behalf of CEO’s clients, Mr. James designs and implements new economic development initiatives, secures funding and financing and develops and strengthens partnerships with a number of public and private entities, interested in the economic status of his clients.

Mr. James is also Managing Member of Mainstream Business Enterprises, LLC, which is an entity certified to provide 39% tax credits for eligible projects, under the U. S. Treasury Department’s New Markets Tax Credit Program.

Mr. James has spent over thirty-three years working in economic development. His experience includes top-level positions in Austin, Chicago, Columbia, Philadelphia, Richmond, and the Washington, DC area. He has built a successful track record in each place he has been, utilizing effective collaboration with business associations, universities and community-based organizations, as well as with local, state and federal governmental agencies.

Mr. James is experienced in managing a full array of economic development activities, including business attraction and retention programs, industrial development, international business, small business assistance programs, high-tech initiatives, financing and grant program administration, large retail development projects, neighborhood commercial revitalization programs, as well as in assisting individual retailers.

He has developed and implemented strategies to promote investment and jobs in distressed areas and helped improve Enterprise Zone Programs in four states. CEO has been selected as one of only seven organizations around the country to serve as a host provider of programs to support economic development and small and minority business development in distressed areas.

Mr. James has distinguished himself in the design and implementation of several programs to assist in the growth and development of minority businesses. He was responsible for the creation and funding of the National Capitol Minority Business Opportunity Committee, which helps minority firms in the greater Washington, DC area secure government and private sector work.

Mr. James has also been involved in a variety of tourism development activities. He has served on the board of directors of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, the Prince George's County Visitors and Tourism Board and was a member of the Governor's Tourism Advisory Roundtable in Virginia. He has helped attract and host a variety of tourism events, including Chicago's hosting of World Cup soccer games and five National Championships of the American Tennis Association, in three different cities.

Mr. James has served on the Board of the South Carolina Economic Developer’s Association and has been a Governor’s appointee on South Carolina’s Workforce Investment Board. He has invested in fast-growing companies as a member of the Charleston Angel Partners.

He has served on several national boards, including the American Association of Enterprise Zones, the International Economic Development Council and the Social Venture Network.

He is a Life-Member of the American Tennis Association and serves on the Public Affairs Committee of the United States Tennis Association. Mr. James was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He received a BS in Science from Union College, in Schenectady, New York, and studied law and business administration at New York University. He has also received various awards and certifications in his field of work.