Small businesses employ 43 million people in the U.S. That’s over half of the nation’s jobs. While small businesses and the self-employed make up such a large part of the workforce, these business owners often don’t feel they have the voice to affect public policy, nor the time or resources to understand it. The Small Business Majority looks to bridge that gap.
The Small Business Majority is a national advocacy organization that engages with small business owners to drive smart public policy that encourages small businesses’ success. Research and analysis of small business owners’ needs and concerns directly fuels the group’s advocacy efforts. The non-profit, non-partisan organization focuses on businesses with fewer than 100 employees, formulating its positions based on a random sampling of this group.
“We allow the small business owners to speak for themselves, and we provide a way to make that easier,” says Columbus-based Midwest Outreach Manager Michaela Hahn Burris.
An active communications team builds awareness around the results of their polls and research.
Research and direct polling of business owners is just one facet of the organization. Much of the group’s work is vetting the right resources to the right people and sharing information on a local level.
The Small Business Majority makes a point to partner with business organizations and locally is working with Forge Columbus, Short North Alliance, Franklinton Board of Trade and various area chambers of commerce.
“We’re always looking to bring people into the fold,” Burris says. “We always want to invite other business organizations to partner with us.”
They are also here to help these organizations when it comes to matters of public policy.
“We alleviate the pressure for the Grandview Chambers of the world to be an expert on the Affordable Care Act,” Burris says.
A definite hot-button issue that’s been in the mainstream for sometime, healthcare is just one example of policy the Small Business Majority focuses on. Their policy agenda also includes issues like tax policy, access to capital, minimum wage, workforce training and retention and clean energy.
One of the biggest issues Burris sees discussed in Ohio is non-discrimination on a municipal level. An event that made national news, a local couple were denied services from a Bexley-based videographer because of their same-sex orientation. Bexley responded accordingly, passing an anti-discrimination ordinance.
“Having protections for consumers and employees makes really good business sense,” Burris says. What makes sense is a theme that runs through many of the organization’s efforts.
Burris has also been tackling information surrounding Senate Bill 310, the freeze on Ohio’s renewable and energy-efficiency standards.
“Here’s what you can do as a result of these policies, here’s what these policies actually say,” Burris says.
Bridging the workforce gap is another big issue in Ohio. Many employers say they have open positions, but can’t find individuals with the right skill to fills them.
With that knowledge in tow, Burris might introduce the business to the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation, an organization that connects business and jobs seekers with training.
It’s all about connecting businesses with resources they didn’t know existed across the board.
For more information, visit smallbusinessmajority.org.