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.
Illinois Small Business Owner Highlight
Ramona Thomas, a trained mathematician with a Ph.D. in education, gave up an 18-year career and position as vice president of a venture philanthropy firm to strike out on her own and open what is now Chicago’s premiere artisan chocolate boutique—My Chocolate Soul.
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.
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 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.
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.
The economy is improving, but Illinois small business owners and their employees are facing another financial hurdle: retirement security. The U.S. currently suffers from a retirement savings gap of more than $6 trillion, and more than 38 million households do not have any retirement savings at all. Illinois small business owners and their workers are no exception.
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