The Agenda for Illinois’ Entrepreneurs

Monday, May 3, 2021

Small Business Majority has created a comprehensive state policy agenda to ensure entrepreneurship is at the center of a thriving and inclusive economy in Illinois, with a particular emphasis on policies that will address systemic racism and sexism that are harming businesses owned by people of color, women and immigrants. The state’s 1.2 million small businesses employ 2.4 million people (about half of the private workforce) and created more than 68,000 jobs in 2015. Yet, despite their importance to the state’s economy, Illinois small businesses continue to face setbacks from the COVID-19 crisis and struggle to access the financing and tools they need to weather storm. This is particularly true for underserved businesses. Small Business Majority’s most recent survey found that even as economic conditions are starting to improve for some small businesses, small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color are disproportionately lagging behind white-owned businesses. 

It’s critical that state lawmakers enact policies to support and empower these entrepreneurs during this critical time, guaranteeing they have access to capital to start and grow their business, affordable and quality healthcare and benefits programs that will make it easier for them to attract and retain talented employees. These policies must prioritize the smallest businesses and those that have faced discrimination based on their race, gender and socioeconomic status, particularly women of low wealth and assets, people of color and other underserved business owners. To achieve these goals, legislators should consider the policy proposals outlined in this document.