Category Archives: SBAC News

Grassroots Advocacy Campaign

Ending the Budget Impasse

Illinois has gone over 700 days without a budget. This unprecedented budget impasse is hurting small businesses, non-profits, college students and many others.

Without the passage of a responsible budget by June 30th:

It is time to take action!

The SBAC will be spreading our non-partisan message to the masses through a grassroots advocacy field campaign. Members, staff and volunteers will be canvassing to end the budget impasse at local events over the next six weeks.

There will be T-shirts and materials available for those able to join us. We expect our message and sincere concern about Illinois’ economy will resonate with the public.

Our non-partisan message will be:
  • Demand local legislators push leadership to pass a responsible budget and make reforms that will revive Illinois’ economy.
  • Demand legislators work together to end the budget impasse.
  • Urge the legislators truly interested in ending this nonsense to be very vocal about the need to bring the impasse to an end.

We have strategically chosen these canvassing locations in Democratic and Republican districts.


July 1 Park Ridge Farmers Market
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
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Northfield Farmers Market
7:30 am – 12:30 pm
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July 8 Naperville Summer Sidewalk Sale
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
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July 15 Safe Haven Run to End Homelessness
8:30 am – 1:00 pm
Sign up


July 28 Schaumburg Farmers Market
7:00 am – 1:00 pm
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If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up online or email Advocacy Director Ryan Tolley at

Become an SBAC Advocate to receive updates and action items!



Member Spotlight: Dina Derman

Dina was introduced to the SBAC by a board member and met with both Elliot Richardson and Michael Cavanaugh at the SBAC office.

“It took no time whatsoever to be impressed by the advocacy support that the SBAC provides to small business owners in Illinois,” she says.

With over 30 years of banking experience, of which 20 years are in a management role, Dina is currently Senior Vice President and Administrator for Inland Bank’s Customer Call Center, Internet Bank and Health Savings Division.

She served as Vice President for the Retail Division from 2007 to 2013 before launching the internet-based eBank along with the national Health Savings Program.

“Inland Bank is a sponsor of the SBAC. As a community bank, we believe in relationships and supporting small businesses,” she says.

Dina has met many small business professionals and formed valuable relationships with them through the SBAC. Great relationships within the organization motivate her to stay engaged and involved.

“The SBAC has a dedicated board that I am honored to serve with,” she says. “It is definitely an organization that takes action and provides a vast array of resources to members.”

She encourages business owners and professionals who support them to join the SBAC, support advocacy efforts, and attend functions and networking events to form important connections.

“The SBAC is not just about networking opportunities, which there are many of, but more importantly the non-partisan advocacy of legislative issues that impact small business,” she says.


See more Member Spotlights

Support Small Business on the Green!

SBAC 8th Annual Golf Outing & Reception Dinner 

Join us on Monday, September 25th, at the beautiful Rolling Green Country Club for a fun-filled day of golf, lunch and a dinner reception! Registration and lunch open at 10:30am. Shotgun starts at 12:00pm. Meet business leaders, SBAC members and guests at this special annual event, which supports our advocacy efforts to further build coalitions that advocate on behalf of small businesses. Come hear how we will further our advocacy efforts to make Illinois Stand Tall.

Click Here to Register

Click Here to View Sponsorship Opportunities

Date & Time

Monday, September 25th

10:30 AM – 08:00 PM CT


Rolling Green Country Club
2525 E Rand Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
United States

Event Price

Single/Foursome Golf (Includes Golf, Cart, Caddie, Prizes, Club Access, Lunch, Reception Dinner & Cocktails) 

Member Single/Double/Foursome – $250 / 475 / 900

Non-member Single/Foursome – $300 / 575 / 1,100

Reception Dinner (Includes Reception Dinner & Cocktails) 

Member Reception Dinner – $75

Non-member Reception Dinner – $100


Birdie Sponsors:




Par Sponsors:


Creating Strategic Partners: Amy Cramer & Michael Caramagno

SBAC members Amy Cramer and Michael Caramagno have built a strong strategic partnership through the SBAC. Their story is not uncommon — the SBAC helps like-minded business owners connect every day.

“Amy and I met at an SBAC lunch in Evanston,” says Michael. “The SBAC allowed us to build a stronger professional relationship with regular meetings and shared advocacy efforts.”

“I had just started Cramer Law Chicago, P.C. and was in desperate need for an accountant. We hit it off and started working together right away,” says Amy.

Initially, Michael assisted Amy with her accounting system and offered tax advice. A few months later, when Michael hired his first employee, Amy handled all of Michael’s contracts to ensure his company was protected as they grew.

“The SBAC has helped us connect and get to know each other because it gives us built-in time to chat about how our businesses are doing, potential referrals, and connections,” says Amy. “I can’t say that Cramer Law Chicago would be where it was today without Caramagno & Associates as a strategic partner.”

Michael and Amy both see the immense benefits an SBAC membership offers. The SBAC helps her gain exposure to businesses and lawyers all over the Chicagoland area. “The first luncheon I attended, I got a new client. What could be better than that?” she says.

Michael believes that connecting with other like-minded business owners is an invaluable asset for his business. He says, “The ability to consult with and recommend reliable and skilled providers of other services, like Cramer Law Chicago, has made us more valuable to our clients.”


To see more testimonials from SBAC members, please visit


SBAC Summer Soirée Boat Cruise on June 20th!

The SBAC Young Professionals Group is hosting their second Summer Soirée Boat Cruise on June 20th. All proceeds will support the SBAC’s advocacy efforts.

Board the elegant Mystic Blue Cruise Ship at Navy Pier for a night of dinner, drinks and great connections. Our last cruise was a blast and we can’t wait for another amazing event!

There is limited space on the cruise and we are expecting to sell out quickly. No tickets may be purchased after June 16th. The cruise, dinner and two drink tickets will be included in your ticket purchase.

Sponsorship opportunities

RSVP & More Info

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.



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.”


See more Member Spotlights

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.

Action Call: Tell Legislators to End The Budget Impasse Before Session Ends

Illinois politicians still have not passed a budget and it seems increasingly likely the state’s unprecedented budget impasse will extend into the summer. Should this occur, it will mark two years since the state operated with a full budget. Illinois’ budget stalemate has already caused profound damage to the state’s economy and hurt small businesses, non-profits, local communities, college students and many others. The budget impasse has driven our state further into debt and made businesses less likely to invest and create jobs in Illinois.

Illinois’ destructive budget impasse must end. The small business community can lead the effort to make this happen. Please take a few moments to contact your local legislators by clicking here. Feel free to modify the message. However, please stay true to the SBAC’s non-partisan message and implore your individual legislators to work with anyone in Springfield who cares enough about the state to fight for an end to the budget impasse.

We must push local legislators to work together, pass a responsible budget and make reforms that will improve the Illinois economy. The buck stops with every legislator in Springfield. Click on this link or fill out the form below to make your voice heard!