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.
Small Business Majority wrote to Illinois Governor Pritzker in support of HB117, a measure that would expand Illinois Secure Choice so that employers with at least five or more employees may participate and auto-enroll their employees. This is an important step to supporting very small businesses and their employees who are unable to access traditional retirement programs, particularly those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a third generation business owner, Alan Moy has gained significant wisdom and experience from watching his parents and grandparents choose an entrepreneurial journey as a means to provide a brighter future for their children. Today, he’s the proud owner of Viet Nom Nom, a Vietnamese-inspired restaurant, catering and pop-up business in Evanston, Ill. that serves healthy salads, rice bowls, soups and sandwiches.
Most first-time business owners struggle to be profitable during the early stages of their business venture. But when you add a global pandemic into the mix, the chances of being profitable essentially go out of the window. This was the case for Nichole Jackson, a former educator who decided to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and become a restaurant business owner in 2019.
A year into the pandemic, many small businesses in Illinois continue to struggle to keep their doors open. While government funding programs have provided a crucial lifeline for many businesses, one-off funding opportunities are not going to be enough to support the long-term recovery of our small business economy. The proposed Illinois Earned Income Credit (EIC) expansion would help address this by closing the gaps in federal funding relief programs and putting more money into the pockets of low-income and working-class Illinoisans.
Small Business Majority wrote to the Illinois House Personnel & Pensions Committee in support of HB0117, which would expand Illinois Secure Choice so that employers with at least one employee may participate and auto-enroll their employees. This is an important step to supporting very small businesses and their employees who are unable to access traditional retirement programs, particularly those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the owner of a catering company, Nicole Jordan has seen an extreme decline in contracts and income since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately for this Illinois-based small business owner, as a former banker she is well connected to the financial resources in her community.
Guana Stamps, owner of Keep it Moving & Associates LLC in Chicago, Ill. opened her limousine service with the idea of offering a safe, reliable way of transportation for her clients. Keep it Moving is a pet friendly car service, which is an uncommon feature in the transportation business and sets her apart from the local competition.
What comes after the pivot? Many small business owners who initially re-tooled their business to better suit the needs of consumers during the pandemic are starting to ask themselves this very question. Among them is Eric Cup who expertly adapted his business early on, but is now finding his pivot, while necessary, is not sustainable.
From stay-at-home orders and being denied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to testing positive for COVID-19, the past few months have not been easy for Chicago business owner Kejuana Isom.