About the Policy Forum
2017 Small Business Policy Forum: Advancing the New Small Business Agenda
There’s no question that recent political events have drastically altered politics and procedures in Washington. The result is that many national policymakers are showing no inclination to move America forward in a meaningful way. Voters across the political spectrum, especially entrepreneurs, are looking for bold, achievable solutions that recognize the realities of our changing economy. America’s small business owners are needed more than ever to lead this effort. We need a strong policy agenda that promotes a thriving, inclusive economy with entrepreneurship as its centerpiece.
That’s why Small Business Majority hosted its Small Business Policy Forum October 17-18, 2017 in Washington, D.C. With its theme “Advancing the New Small Business Agenda,” this invitation-only event brought 50 of the best and the brightest entrepreneurs from across the country to our nation’s capital to tackle policy issues and discuss how to promote reforms that will help small businesses thrive.
The Policy Forum included a full-day conference on October 17 at the prestigious National Press Club and featured panel discussions and dialogue with policymakers, industry experts and successful entrepreneurs. It also included a networking lunch which provided an opportunity for attendees to connect with peers from across the country. The Policy Forum concluded Wednesday, October 18 with a visit to Capitol Hill during which small business owners had an opportunity to engage directly with legislative staff.
The Policy Forum focused on topline policy issues of importance to small business, including but not limited to:
- Healthcare, retirement savings, family medical leave and other portable benefits that undergird a healthy entrepreneurial economy
- Tax and economic development policies to spur small business/economic growth
- Policies and strategies to ensure small businesses can obtain the capital necessary to grow and strengthen their enterprises in a responsible and sustainable manner, especially for entrepreneurs in underserved communities
- Women’s entrepreneurship, particularly overcoming the unique barriers women business owners face today
Small businesses aren’t simply the backbone of the American economy: They are its foundation. But too often the small business voice is lost in the clamor of special interests—all willing to poach small business’ good name in order to advance their own ideological agendas. The Small Business Policy Forum aimed to shine a light on small businesses’ importance to the political debate and reclaim that voice.
The Policy Forum was a rare opportunity for small business owners and entrepreneurs to engage in an interactive dialogue on the biggest policy issues impacting them today and make their voices heard. It provided the chance to not only discuss the issues shaping our economy, but identify pragmatic policy recommendations for a new small business agenda that will actually help America’s small businesses thrive and grow our economy.
About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority is a national small business advocacy organization, founded and run by small business owners to ensure America's entrepreneurs are a key part of an inclusive, equitable and diverse economy. We actively engage small business owners and policymakers in support of public policy solutions, and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth and drive a strong, sustainable job-creating economy. Our extensive scientific opinion polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers, including healthcare, access to capital, taxes, retirement, paid leave and other workforce issues.
To empower America's entrepreneurs to build a thriving and inclusive economy
A thriving small business ecosystem is central to creating a dynamic and inclusive American economy. We believe small businesses are not just the backbone of the American economy; they are its foundation. Indeed, small businesses represent 99% of all employer firms and account for half of our nation's jobs and economic output, and their creativity spurs innovation in all sectors of the economy.
Small business entrepreneurship is a proven pathway for Americans from all walks of life to build income, independence and financial security for themselves, their families and their employees. If provided the proper resources and public policies to unleash their potential, they inject life and vitality into communities, provide quality jobs and boost prosperity for all.
Small Business Majority advocates for policy solutions that create a strong, job-creating economy for all and provides education and resources to entrepreneurs to promote small business growth and prosperity.
We conduct extensive research on the attitudes and concerns of small business owners and freelancers and communicate our findings and message directly to stakeholders and through the media. We regularly engage our network of 55,000 small business owners and work with more than 1,000 business groups across the country on issues including access to capital, healthcare, taxes, retirement, paid leave and other policies directly impacting entrepreneurship. We are a team of 25 working from 10 offices in Washington, D.C., and eight states: California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Virginia.
Our two organizational initiatives are:
1. Policy & advocacy: We develop and support policies that benefit the entire small business ecosystem—ranging from boosting access to responsible capital, ensuring affordable access to quality healthcare, and growth-oriented equitable tax and employment policies. Our small business owners speak out publicly, sharing their unique personal stories about why they support such policies and how they will be beneficial to their bottom line. We participate in coalitions working to enact such policies, providing the small business perspective and effective messaging.
- Research: Working with professional polling firms, we conduct scientific surveys of small business owners on a variety of issues to inform our policy positions and proposed solutions. We also conduct focus groups and economic research.
- Spokespeople: We recruit, train and deploy small business owner spokespeople to share their personal perspectives on issues of importance to small businesses.
- Media: We elevate the small business voice in the public sphere by sharing the results of our research with the media and putting a real small business face on the issues by having our small business spokespeople perform media interviews and place letters to the editor and op-eds in well-respected news outlets.
2. Entrepreneurship Program: We provide a suite of educational programs and resources to small business owners, their employees and self-employed entrepreneurs to empower them to start and grow their enterprises and maximize their economic prosperity.
- In-person and online educational seminars: These events educate small business owners, small business employees and the self-employed on a variety of practical business topics and pertinent policy issues: (a) access to capital, (b) healthcare, (c) retirement/asset building and (d) workforce/employment issues. We partner with national, state, regional and local business organizations to co-host these events and invite their members.
- Small business outreach: We use an array of channels (social media, email blasts, events, newsletters) to regularly engage our network of small business owners and organizations. We also work with our partners to distribute our educational resources to their members.
- Online resources: We have developed several websites to provide on-demand information for small business owners on a host of topics, including access to capital, retirement security and healthcare and other workforce benefits.