About CFE

The Center for Free Enterprise

About CFE

The Center for Free Enterprise

What started as a casual speaker series is now expanding to a larger calendar of business-casual events with the goal of bringing together some of northeast Ohio’s most active and ambitious business leaders.

The Center for Free Enterprise seeks to bring together Ohio business leaders interested in middle market mergers & acquisitions, new venture formation and growth, and other business issues that present challenges and opportunities to us as individuals and to our region as a whole.

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CFE Founders

Ben Calkins

Ben Calkins is a seasoned business attorney who has assisted a wide array of both publicly held and privately held business clients in connection with countless business transactions, including but not limited to acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, debt and equity financings and other matters including general business counseling and planning and real estate matters, for over 30 years.

Eric Schwarz


As the Head of Exit & Financial Planning and a Certified Financial Planner, Eric specializes in guiding successful entrepreneurs and wealthy families through strategic and financial exits of their privately held companies. Highly connected in the financial and M&A community, he acts as a financial quarterback for high-net-worth clients and middle-market business owners. He helps entrepreneurs assemble a proper team of professionals for any business transition, including investment bankers, legal counsel, CPA and a commercial insurance advisors. His goal is to help optimize the client’s “next chapter” in life.