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Our Team

Derek Bly

Derek is the founder of Small Business Advisors. He received his Master's of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and his Bachelor's Degree in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the University of Illinois at Chicago Magna Cum Laude.  


Derek has over 15 years of experience in various corporate finance industries including software, food & beverage, telecom, flooring and retail entertainment. He currently provides software solutions along with traditional strategy, operations, finance and accounting assistance as a consultant in the utilities industry.

Derek is a founder and co-owner of the Zagat award-winning Alulu BrewPub and a chief strategist on the award winning virtual reality experience Starship Commander. Working knowledge of Spanish and Polish.

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Daniel Pawlowski
Daniel received his B.Sc. in Business Administration from the University of Hamburg, Germany as well as his M.Sc. in Economics from the University of Giessen, Germany. Additionally, he obtained his MBA summa cum laude from UW Milwaukee with a focus on

Early in his career, Daniel founded an online retail business for baby products, mostly focusing on B2C and B2B sales across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. While growing the business, Daniel acquired expertise in all areas of interest for a small business – employing
best practices in accounting, taxation, web design, market research, marketing, and more.

Daniel has built a successful career, starting as an Equity Analyst in Hamburg, Germany, where he worked for 3 years. After moving to the United States, he briefly worked as a Senior Financial Analyst in logistics, then quickly moved to a Corporate Development
role, where he is now conducting Mergers and Acquisitions for a large, multinational
professional services firm. Fluent in German and Polish.
Boris Aksenov
Boris Aksenov


Boris received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of
Business and Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, summa cum laude. He has also completed all three levels of the CFA.


Boris has over ten years of finance, project management, software development, and consulting
experience across a range of industries, including utilities, consumer and small business lending,
equipment leasing, and insurance. He has helped multiple small businesses and startups build out their
finance function from the ground up, including a student lending business in Africa and an insurtech
startup in Miami. He also has considerable experience in investing, technology strategy, accounting, and
market research. Fluent in Russian.

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Ben Gao

Benjamin received his Bachelors in Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin.
He began his career with Bank of America Merrill Lynch as a corporate and investment banking analyst. He was responsible for coverage for large insurance companies. Following his two-year analyst stint, he went to work for a midstream oil and gas company responsible for corporate and business development.


After about a year with the oil and gas company, he joined a Chicago-based social investment company
as Direct of Investments. There he was responsible for investing in businesses in distressed
neighborhoods and analyze ways to raise funds without adversely impacting the company’s financial
health. He is currently working in mergers and acquisition for technology company.


Benjamin currently lives in Dallas, TX. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese, and English

Giovanni Rumbolo

Giovanni received his Master's Degree in Environmental Management & Sustainability from the Illinois Institute of Technology and his Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Giovanni has over ten years of experience in Chemical Treatment and EPA regulation. He has worked in government & education institutions, for private corporations and as a consultant to clients. Giovanni is fluent in Italian.

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