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. It’s critical that state lawmakers enact policies that support and empower these entrepreneurs, 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.
While many 13-year-olds dream of becoming firefighters or football players, 13-year-old Johnathon Bush not only dreamed of being an entrepreneur but was already becoming one. While growing up in Toledo, Ohio, he realized the only way he could make money at a young age was through entrepreneurship, so he started baking cookies and selling them to friends and family. But, his bake sales evolved into something bigger than his middle school self could have expected.
When her brother was first deployed to Iraq, Candy Alford embroidered every piece of clothing he owned, from his socks to his washcloths, with his name so his things wouldn’t get misplaced in the group laundry. Not only were the name tags practical, but they garnered quite a few compliments from her brother’s fellow pilots, and he suggested she turn her hobby into a business.
On October 3, Small Business Majority's Midwest Outreach Manager and Women's Entrepreneurship Manager Geri Aglipay testified in Chicago at Senator Duckworth's field hearing for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship titled, "Barriers to Entry in the Tech Industry for Diverse Entrepreneurs." She advocated for an expansion of SBA lending programs for underserved entrepreneurs and extending Truth in Lending Act disclosures to protect small business borrowers.
Policymakers at all levels, from town councils to the halls of Capitol Hill, emphasize the challenges of small businesses as a key talking point during political debates. But new opinion polling in four states—Illinois, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin—reveals small businesses feel their government officials don’t actually understand their challenges, and they support a wide array of policies to address their needs, some of which might come as a surprise to their elected officials.
This Chicago-based research explores issues related to small business workforce development, particularly for business owners of color located in low- and moderate-income communities. Small Business Majority interviewed and convened local small business owners and business service organizations for roundtable discussions during a six-month research project to learn about key challenges in hiring and managing employees. Overall, the research indicates that small business owners have limited capacity and resources to improve workforce management.
When Noelle Curtis was working to clear up her acne and hyperpigmentation, she noticed not many spas addressed the specific skincare needs of women of color. So instead of continuing to look for someone else’s solution, she decided to become an esthetician herself. After a whirlwind corporate career Noelle went on to open Pretty Dapper Day Spa, which offers a variety of services to Chicagoland clients of all skin types and skin colors.
Small Business Majority writes in opposition to the Regulatory Sandbox Act (HB 2825), which would permit a range of financial institutions to test unlicensed financial products on consumers, including entrepreneurs. We believe this legislation would open up small business owners and entrepreneurs to predatory lending practices.
Small Business Majority writes in opposition to HB 2042, which would extend short-term, limited duration health insurance from the current 181 days to 366 days. We believe this legislation would help undermine a robust individual marketplace, which is vitally important for owners and employees of small businesses without group coverage, especially the roughly one million solo-entrepreneurs in Illinois.
Small Business Majority writes in support of the Wholesale Importation of Prescription Drugs Act (HB 1441), which would create a program to provide lower cost prescription drugs from regulated Canadian suppliers to Illinois consumers. We believe this legislation will help millions of healthcare consumers in Illinois, including many small business owners and solo entrepreneurs.