Small business owners make their voices heard on Capitol Hill at the Small Business Policy Forum

In today’s political climate, a lot of political leaders talk about wanting to help small business, but oftentimes don’t take their actual comments and concerns into consideration when working on key policy issues, like tax reform and healthcare. That’s why we tackled this challenge head on at Small Business Majority’s 2017 Policy Forum, which brought 50 small business leaders from around the country to our nation’s capital to discuss how to promote policy reforms that will help small businesses thrive.

Attendees began the Policy Forum with a full-day of discussion panels and interactive sessions on hot-button topics that impact small businesses including tax reform, healthcare and changes to the Affordable Care Act and access to responsible capital. We also discussed policies to boost women’s entrepreneurship via intimate roundtable discussions and hosted a panel on proposals to implement more portable benefits programs that can help entrepreneurs thrive. Each topic was led by issue experts and small business owners who facilitated discussion and shared their experiences with the group, followed by an opportunity for the attendees to ask questions and provide feedback. The panel discussions and dialogue with attendees were lively, and it was clear attendees were passionate about these issues.  

“I think what I really liked the most [about the event] was the fact that the quality of the panels you put together were just of the highest quality,” said Jessica Jolly, owner of Alt-Enter in Chicago.

The second day of the Policy Forum was spent on Capitol Hill engaging with senior legislative staff within both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate—speaking directly with those who help craft legislation and work directly with members of Congress to make constituents’ voices heard. The attendees had the opportunity to meet with staff from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions; the. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship; the Senate Committee on Finance; Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office, and lastly the House Committee on Ways and Means. The attendees asked questions of the staff and provided feedback on particular issues that have impacted their businesses such as access to capital and affordable healthcare.

The 2017 Policy Forum was an opportunity for small business owners to come together regardless of industry or background and discuss the issues that affect them all. Since the Policy Forum, we have received some great feedback:

Jessica Jolly said, “The Policy Forum really made me want to get more engaged with the issues that affect small business.”

Pamela Henderson, owner of All Roads Lead 65 Max Foundation in Antioch, California, in response to the women’s entrepreneurship panel said, “Having the opportunity to express my concerns as a woman entrepreneur is very important, and surrounding ourselves with other powerful women to help give us the tools needed for our company was very informative.”

Lynn Meyers, owner of United Courier, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio, in response to meeting with legislative staff from the House Ways and Means Committee said, “The panelists had very good answers and a willingness to listen to the people in front of them. It really felt like they cared about our agenda over their agenda.”

But don’t just take their word for it. Check out our Storify to see commentary from attendees via tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts during the 2017 Small Business Policy Forum.