|Thursday, February 2, 2017
From the President’s Desk:
State of Small Business Survey 2017
I am regularly asked, why is the Chicagoland Chamber investing in neighborhood-based entrepreneurs? I have four good reasons:
- Small business is a vital part of the economy, producing 2 out of every 3 jobs in the nation and employing half of the private sector workforce in Illinois.
- Small business owners are anchors for local economic development, job growth and community investment.
- Medium- and large-sized businesses rely on small businesses for products and services, workforce development, and innovation.
- Small business growth and investment increases employment and economic activity in underinvested communities.
This is why the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce created Small Business Chicago, an initiative to create jobs and economic activity in Chicagoland communities through high-quality support services, growth opportunities, and ongoing investment in neighborhood-based businesses and entrepreneurs, local chambers of commerce and partner organizations.
This initiative came about because we asked small businesses what they care about and what they need. Through a partnership with the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University, we are now in our 3rd year of surveying Chicago area small business owners and entrepreneurs and I am happy to share with you the State of Small Business 2017.
Based on the findings from the survey, which sampled 770 business owners from a wide range of industries, small business owners top concerns include new taxes and healthcare changes.
Small businesses are also deeply concerned with the state’s economic condition. Only 29 percent of them believe the Chicagoland economy will strengthen over the next year, and only 17 percent believe Illinois’ economy will strengthen over the next year. With 64 percent naming regulatory requirements as a concern, employers collectively worry about government’s next actions and how it will impact their businesses.
On the bright side, 77 percent of business owners have expressed interest in expanding their businesses. This optimism is due to the resources available to businesses in the Chicagoland area, be it Chicago’s abundant workforce or its reputation as a major transportation hub. According to the study, businesses are looking for assistance with marketing, strategic business planning and advancements in technology.
At the heart of Small Business Chicago is the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Since August 2014, we have assisted more than 400 clients, providing guidance and resources in business planning, financing, marketing plans, dealing with local government and much more. We host office hours in 12 communities, including Hyde Park, Washington Park, Pullman, Beverly, Englewood, West Loop/Loop/River North, Edgewater, Lakeview, and Rogers Park, and plan to expand into additional neighborhoods in 2017.
So, whether you are an entrepreneur, small active business, growing and ready to expand, or have clients that fit the small business classification we invite you to check out Small Business Chicago.
And for those of you who have grown beyond your small business beginnings, I also invite you to participate in Middle Market Chicago. You can get a flavor for the program and the people participating next at our next event Pro-Business, Pro-Chicago | Family Business: A Force for Good in Turbulent Times. Richard Edelman will join us for a fireside chat about his experience going from a family owned firm to a global powerhouse in Communications and Public Relations.
Until next time…
Theresa E. Mintle
President & CEO
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce