At the end of spring, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcomed small-business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to our annual America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C., to make their voices heard. Now, with summer heating up, we’re hitting the road to see small businesses in action in towns and communities nationwide.

We’re going “On the Road with Free Enterprise,” a cross-country summer road trip to find and tell free enterprise stories all over America.

At the wheel are Nate and Joe, a two-man team selected from more than 900 tour guide applicants and ultimately chosen by thousands of online supporters. Nate and Joe are longtime friends originally from Boston, who have written and reported on topics such as entrepreneurship, innovation and culture.

They will put their experience to work on the road. Through social media, video, blogging and good old-fashioned man-on-the-street interaction, they will tell the story of free enterprise where it lives. They will show what it means to our economy and why it is such an integral part of our daily lives.

The Chamber of Commerce helped Nate and Joe kick off the tour at Nationals Stadium in Washington last week. The tour guides will visit more than 15 cities during their two-month journey, heading to the West Coast and back.

Along the way they will visit the mom-and-pop shops that run our economy. The tour will showcase examples of what makes this nation so great: hardworking folks who put it all on the line to pursue their dreams. When American entrepreneurs are free to build their own businesses, innovation thrives and jobs are born. What begins in the back of a food truck, or as a harebrained scheme in someone’s basement, can lead to businesses that enrich individuals and fuel our economy.

Nate and Joe will also tour some major corporations and manufacturing plants that contribute significantly to our economy and way of life.

Businesses of all sizes and sectors represent the free enterprise system at work in America. As that system comes under attack in our nation’s capital and by business opponents, it’s never been more important to show just what free enterprise means to Main Street. It means innovation, jobs, opportunity, prosperity and hope. That’s why free enterprise must not only be celebrated and showcased but also protected and advanced. The Free Enterprise Tour is just one way we’ll do that this summer.

Nate and Joe will share all their experiences through daily reports from the road. You can be a passenger on this trip by following along, stop-by-stop, at and on Twitter @FreeEnterprise #FEtour.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.