Category Archives: SBAC News

Springfield Recap


Approximately 30 small business advocates arrived in Springfield and immediately began meeting with legislators from both sides of the aisle. We met with the Governor and an array of legislators to discuss the budget impasse. We also had very productive meetings with the Lieutenant Governor and the Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity about legislation focused on stimulating the economy and empowering small businesses.

Senator Castro updated us on her efforts to move legislation ensuring products sold by large online companies are subject to the same sales tax as goods sold by our local retailers. This will level the playing field for Illinois’ small businesses and provide the state with much-needed revenue. The SBAC also advocated for non-partisan workers’ compensation reform, constitutional pension reform and lowering fees that curtail the growth of our small businesses.

We left Springfield even more dedicated to fight for an end to the budget impasse and motivated to pass legislation laser-focused on improving the economic climate for Illinois’ small businesses.

SBAC Applauds Effort of Bipartisan Group of House Members


The SBAC applauds the bipartisan group of 33 Illinois House members who publicly called for an end to Illinois’ budget impasse. This is exactly the type of bipartisan leadership we have been looking for from our legislators.

Below is the group’s statement:

The finances of the state of Illinois are in crisis, and we must do better. The time for resolution is now. We are a bipartisan group of House members committed to seeing that happen.

There have been many ideas submitted both inside and outside the Statehouse. The key question for any of them is “Do they have the votes to pass?” The Senate offers one set of ideas in the form of a grand bargain negotiated by both Democrats and Republicans in that chamber.

We believe a solution that can pass the House and Senate and be signed by the Governor needs to include a package of bills that fundamentally addresses the needs of the state, and most importantly provides a normal, full-year budget for our state agencies, schools, and social service providers.

Let’s be clear; we aren’t looking at a simple all or nothing vote on a package sent from the Senate. We understand that a package sent from the Senate will not be complete or perfect, and it will change. Our legislative process allows hearings and amendments from both chambers, and we think that’s the best way to negotiate a deal that serves our constituents and the state as a whole.

We want to do what we were elected to do; govern the state. To do that we need to pass a budget. We understand a package from the Senate will be complex. Some parts may make members uncomfortable, and that’s not unusual in a negotiated deal.

We ask the Senators from both parties to pass the best negotiated package they can, and then we will take up their work in the House. We publicly support the hard work of the Senate and wish to continue their efforts.

 

Names:

Ann Williams – 11 – D

Anna Moeller – 43 – D

Avery Bourne – 95 – R

Barbara Wheeler – 64 – R

Bob Pritchard – 70 – R

Camille Lilly – 78 – D

Carol Sente – 59 – D

Chad Hays – 104 – R

David Harris – 53 – R

David Welter – 75 – R

Elaine Nekritz – 57 – D

Elgie Sims – 34 – D

Grant Wehrli – 41 – R

Jehan Gordon-Booth – 92 – D

Jerry Costello State -116 – D

Juliana Stratton – 5 – D

Keith Wheeler – 50 – R

Kelly Burke – 36 – D

Kelly Cassidy – 14 – D

Linda Chapa LaVia – 83 – D

Litesa Wallace – 67 – D

Marcus Evans – 33 – D

Mike Fortner – 49 – R

Norine Hammond – 93 – R

Sam Yingling – 62 – D

Sara Wojcicki Jimenez – 99 – R

Sheri Jesiel – 61 – R

Sonya Harper – 6 – D

Stephanie Kifowit – 84 – D

Steven Andersson – 65 – R

Terri Bryant – 115 – R

Tim Butler – 87 – R

Tom Bennett – 106 – R

 

Member Spotlight: Stephen Ball


Stephen Ball was awarded the Philip Zelkowitz Small Business Champion Award at the SBAC’s 6th Annual Advocacy Dinner & Awards Ceremony on May 4th, 2017. In his acceptance speech, he said, “What I did was small compared to what we all can do. Your voice will never be small again as long as we work together.”

As Senior Vice President and Head of MB Financial Bank’s Business Banking group, Stephen is responsible for products, goals, marketing, training, promotional initiatives, management, and production for all retail banking that pertains to businesses. He has spent his 23 years of banking experience focused on the small business market.

Along with his team of 35, Stephen helps businesses with lending and cash management solutions while providing sound analysis of their financials. Stephen encourages other entrepreneurs to focus on smart and profitable growth. “Don’t sell for the sake of sales,” he says. An experienced public speaker and published author, he has presented at Kent School of Law, as a keynote speaker at the Midwest Korean American Jaycees event in 2016 and various chambers of commerce and networking group events.

Due to the SBAC’s strong partnership with MB Financial Bank, Stephen joined the SBAC Board of Directors and became a very engaged and active member. He is passionate about the SBAC’s cause and appreciates the organization’s strong leadership.

“I don’t measure the business transactions that I get from being a part of the SBAC,” says Stephen. “For me, it is more about knowing that I am doing the right thing. Helping everyone helps us all.”

Pitch Companies Announced for May 25th!


We are excited to announce the three Pitch Companies for our Venture Pitch Session on May 25th: Sparkl, Quiddity Solutions and Neopenda!

To register and find out more information about the event, please click here.

 

 

 


Sparkl is a mobile, waterless (eco-friendly) car wash app whose mission is to provide you a clean car wherever you are.

 

Quiddity Solutions is a seed-stage, healthcare IT startup company focused on price transparency in healthcare.

 

Neopenda is a global health tech startup striving to engineer healthcare solutions that give newborns in low-resource settings the healthy lives they deserve.

Tom Walter, Keynote Speaker at Advocacy Dinner


Tom Walter is a “serial entrepreneur,” author, speaker and a principal in numerous companies. He is best known as the Chief Culture Officer (CCO) of Chicago-area Tasty Catering, a suburban corporate caterer and event planner that was recently named a Forbes Best Small Company in America. Tom has more than 40 years of experience as an owner and operator in the service industry.

He has participated in the startup of 32 companies, is currently active in 9 of those startups, has acquired three and—in a few cases—has terminated businesses in a broad spectrum of markets. Tom remains a principal, investor and advisor for several companies, most of which are part of 80 Nine Holdings and have been co-founded by his staff. Tom is a national speaker and co-author.


 

Join us for the 6th Annual Advocacy Awards Dinner & Awards Ceremony next Thursday on May 4th from 6:00 – 10:00 PM!

Celebrate our achievements in advocacy at our biggest fundraiser event of the year. Support the SBAC, connect with business leaders and hear about our next steps to ensure small businesses have a strong voice in advocacy. With a cocktail hour, three-course dinner and more, it is sure to be an unforgettable night.

Get your tickets here!

Announcing the Advocacy Award Recipients


 

Join us for the 6th Annual Advocacy Awards Dinner & Awards Ceremony next Thursday on May 4th from 6:00 – 10:00 PM!

“At this signature event, we will celebrate the hard work of all the SBAC members who have fought to empower the small business community and improve Illinois’ economy.  Two SBAC leaders will also be acknowledged for the tremendous contributions they have made to the organization,” says SBAC CEO Elliot Richardson. “The evening will provide a great opportunity for people to connect and meet SBAC leaders from a variety of different areas.”

Celebrate our achievements in advocacy at our biggest fundraiser event of the year. Support the SBAC, connect with business leaders and hear about our next steps to ensure small businesses have a strong voice in advocacy. With a cocktail hour, three-course dinner and more, it is sure to be an unforgettable night.

Get your tickets here!

 

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Advocate of the Year

Dwayne Hirsch, The Hirsch Network Team of Coldwell Banker

Dwayne is a Real Estate Agent with the Hirsch Network Team of Coldwell Banker in Chicago, Illinois. He specializes in helping sellers, buyers, investors and renters achieve their goals in real estate. An SBAC member since 2011, Dwayne is a Member of the Executive Board, Board of Advisors, Policy and Membership Committees and also the host of the Hyde Park Happy Hour. Widely considered to be among Chicago’s best known networking professionals, Dwayne is committed to advocacy for small business and to the advancement of entrepreneurship in Illinois.

“There is a growing need for advocacy, or in other words, always a new battle to fight,” says Dwayne. “The SBAC has given me opportunities to work toward legislation that benefits the entire small business community.”

 

Phillip Zelkowitz Small Business Champion Award

Stephen Ball, MB Financial Bank

Stephen is Senior Vice President and Head of MB Financial Bank’s Business Banking group. He is responsible for products, goals, marketing, training, promotional initiatives, management, and production for all retail banking that pertains to businesses. Stephen has spent his 21 years of banking experience focused on the small business market. Along with his staff of 32, Stephen helps businesses with lending and cash management solutions while providing sound analysis of their financials. Stephen is an experienced public speaker and published author. He has presented at Kent School of Law and various chambers of commerce and networking group events.

“The SBAC at its heart is built up of people of character who share a mission,” says Stephen. “I stay involved because I want to help make a difference. I don’t want to just ride the coattails of pioneers like Elliot and the SBAC team. I want to help them affect change.”

 

 

Daily Herald Editorial: We must make lawmakers accountable to the public ahead of their party leaders


The SBAC participated in the Multi-Chamber luncheon to host Governor Bruce Rauner. The GOA Regional Business Association did a fantastic job of putting together an incredibly well-attended event.

Elliot Richardson, SBAC CEO, addressed the crowd about how zealous non-partisan advocacy can push politicians to enact common-sense policies to improve Illinois’ economy.  He discussed how the engagement of the small business community can push lawmakers to be more accountable to their constituents than party leaders.

Read more here in this Daily Herald Editorial.

SBAC Advocacy Dinner & Awards Ceremony is coming up soon!


Celebrate with 250+ business leaders, members and guests at our 6th Annual Advocacy Dinner and Awards Ceremony on May 4th! This event commemorates the achievements of our advocacy efforts in 2016 and focuses on our next steps to ensure small businesses have their voices heard.

From the cocktail reception at the start of the evening, followed by extraordinary presentations, to the post-dinner drinks, guests are sure to have an unforgettable night!

Get your tickets for the event here!

 

Member Spotlight: Dwayne Hirsch


 

Dwayne Hirsch is passionate about advocating for small business and the advancement of entrepreneurship in Illinois. The SBAC is excited to award him the Advocate of the Year Award at our 6th Annual Advocacy Dinner & Awards Ceremony on May 4th.

An active and dedicated SBAC member, Dwayne is part of the Executive Committee, Policy and Membership Committees and also the host of the Hyde Park Happy Hour.

Advocacy is what keeps him engaged in the organization. He has joined the SBAC on trips to Springfield to advocate on behalf of the small business community. Dwayne helps engage with political leaders from both sides of the aisle, discussing important issues impacting entrepreneurs.

“There is a growing need for advocacy, or in other words, always a new battle to fight,” says Dwayne. “The SBAC has given me opportunities to work toward legislation that benefits the entire small business community.”

In many cases, businesses on the South and West sides of Chicago face similar issues as businesses throughout the state and can also receive similar benefits from engaging in the advocacy and activation of these legislative acts. As examples, Equity Crowdfunding, LLC filing fee bills along with the SBAC’s workers compensation and pension reform bills have impacts designed for the entire small business community.

Widely considered to be among Chicago’s best-known and most successful networking professionals, Dwayne has hosted over 150 networking events in the last several years and attended hundreds more with other organizations across a broad spectrum of interests. Through former SBAC Executive Director Amy Masters, he was introduced to CEO & Co-Founder Elliot Richardson in 2011 and has been a part of the SBAC ever since.

Dwayne is a Real Estate Broker with Coldwell Banker in Chicago, specializing in helping sellers, buyers, investors and renters achieve their goals in real estate. As a licensed realtor, he works mainly with residential properties and clients in Hyde Park, Kenwood, Bronzeville and the South Loop.

Dwayne is on the Advisory Board of Native Sons of Chicago, which makes direct and indirect investments through intrastate equity crowdfunding in local businesses and real estate projects in historically disadvantaged areas.

Dwayne has also been active with youth mentoring programs and is known to be a great friend and supporter of many of Chicago’s new and emerging business owners.

SBAC Testifies on Legislation that Empowers Small Businesses


The Small Business Advocacy Council went to Springfield on March 30th, 2017 to advocate for the small business community and economic policies that can spark Illinois’ economy.

SBAC Advocacy Director, Ryan Tolley, Representative Carol Sente and SBAC Member Anthony Zeoli participated in two hearings in the House of Representatives Revenue Committee and the Business Growth & Incentives Committee.

During the Revenue Committee Hearing, Advocacy Director Ryan Tolley gave a testimony focused on the importance of the small business community’s voice in discussions on passing a responsible budget. He also presented measures that can be taken to improve our state’s economy.

Below is his testimony:

“My name in Ryan Tolley, Advocacy Director with the Small Business Advocacy Council. We are here to testify about several pieces of legislation that will empower the small business community, improve our state’s economy and begin changing the perception of Illinois’ small business climate.

Our first priority is that our state pass a responsible budget.  As part of that process and discussions around the formation of good economic policy, it is important that the voice of the small business community is heard. Small businesses create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy.  Empowering the small business community will spark the economy and create revenue for the state.

We are here today to advocate for a few things: lowering among the highest LLC fees in the nation and expanding the angel tax credit to allow people who make investments into small businesses through intrastate equity crowdfunding to have access to tax credits previously reserved for larger investors. 

We hear policy-makers talk about how important small businesses are to the Illinois’ economy.  Passing legislation that moves these initiatives will improve our economy, create jobs and support local communities.   

Thank you for taking my statements today. I will be happy to answer any questions that the committee has.”

At our meeting with Business Growth & Incentives committee, we advocated for a bill, HB3792, that would make it easier for small businesses to raise money through intrastate equity crowdfunding and drive economic growth. The bill passed committee with no opposition, collecting an additional 18 co-sponsors. The legislation now moves to the House Floor.

The SBAC continues to be laser-focused on working to pass a responsible budget in Illinois. We look forward to bringing a robust group of members to Springfield on May 9th. If you would are interesting in joining the SBAC for the trip, visit here for more details.

To learn more about our legislative agenda, please click here or contact Ryan Tolley at ryan@sbacil.org.