Businesses of every size benefit from America’s competitive environment. Our economy is an ecosystem where big businesses and small businesses are vendors, employees, partners, and customers to each other. At the Chamber, we see every day how new, innovative, and bold entrepreneurs and small businesses strike out into uncharted territory to serve their customers, clients, and communities. We believe any business of any size ought to have a fighting chance to prove their value in the market.
Several groups with their own agendas try to claim the U.S. Chamber does not represent small businesses. But the breadth and depth of our work tells a different story. The U.S. Chamber represents businesses of all shapes and sizes from every corner in America.
Small businesses employ nearly half of the entire American workforce and represent 43.5% of America’s GDP. As we have for over a century, the U.S. Chamber represents the full spectrum of the American business community. And like America, the vast majority of our members – 90% – are small businesses and state and local chambers of commerce.
Standing with Small Business Owners, Fighting for Them
The U.S. Chamber fights for small business. Whether it is pushing for the reauthorization of the Small Business Administration, voicing their concerns to lawmakers, highlighting their impact on the economy, or opposing the policies that will hurt their bottom line, the U.S. Chamber always stands up for the rights of small business. We work every day to give small businesses a big voice in Washington, connecting entrepreneurs and federal officials and advocating for policies that help them grow, rather than hold them back.
The Chamber’s Board of Directors is fully representative of the American business community, consisting of small business, corporate, and nonprofit leaders from all sectors and sizes of business, and from all regions of the country.
Our Small Business Council is made up of 100 small business owners from across the country that steer our work in fighting for policies that keep Main Street businesses thriving. This week, the Small Business Council is gathered in Jackson, MS, for their twice-annual meeting to work on effective grassroots strategies on legislative, regulatory, and international issues.
The Chamber’s small business members regularly visit Capitol Hill. More than 40 Small Business Council members recently met with staff from Senate Leadership, the Senate Small Business Committee, and the House Small Business Committee to express their biggest challenges and concerns and what they want to see from the 118th Congress.
Exclusive Insights, Access for Small Business
Since 2017, we have partnered with MetLife to survey small businesses on a quarterly basis for the Small Business Index. The Index provides valuable insights on current challenges and opportunities for small business that inform our advocacy in Congress. The Index is also cited in top national media outlets every quarter to explain the current views of small business owners on the national economy.
Through our small business platform CO—, which helps almost 20,000 businesses every day and had more than six million site visits last year alone, we are equipping small businesses with the tools and insights they need to ensure their own resilience in the face of any challenge. CO—’s monthly small business events on topics like improving digital presence and accessing capital attract hundreds of viewers from across the country. Each year, CO— hosts a Small Business Summit, which brings together successful entrepreneurs and small business experts for advice, networking, and practical strategies for business owners with thousands of viewers tuning in.
The “America’s Top Small Business" annual awards program (formerly the Dream Big Awards) honors the achievements of small businesses and highlights their contributions to the economy, job creation, and innovation. Finalists are recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., where one Top Small Business is awarded a $25,000 cash prize. In 2022, 3,000 small businesses applied for consideration. The 2023 applications open May 4.
Educating and Empowering Small Businesses
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation works to educate, empower, and lift up small businesses through its impactful work in developing solutions to challenges facing communities.
- The Foundation's Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a multi-year initiative to support Black small business owners and the communities they serve as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and chart a path forward. Since inception, the Coalition partners have distributed $8.1 million in cash grants to 1,414 Black small-business owners in 42 states, while also offering mentoring and additional resources to help small businesses scale and thrive.
- In 2022, the Foundation and FedEx launched the Small Business Readiness for Resiliency Program (R4R), to provide financial assistance to small business owners impacted by a natural disaster. R4R will distribute approximately 400 grants to eligible small businesses over the next four years. In addition, the Foundation's Disaster Help Desk assists small businesses with disaster readiness, relief, and long-term recovery 24/7.
- The U.S. Chamber Foundation's annual Citizens Awards recognizes companies small and large that show exceptional leadership in harnessing innovation and creativity to solve our most pressing issues. The program is now accepting 2023 Citizens Awards nominations.
Fighting for Small Business Every Day
April 30 kicks off SBA's National Small Business Week. The U.S. Chamber is preparing to launch our Prompt Pay Pledge to help ensure the shared economic success of our business ecosystem. The Pledge calls for large companies to pay their small business suppliers more quickly to help them manage capital and maintain a healthy cash flow.
CO— has curated a special collection of content and will host a Small Business Day event on Thursday, May 4 at 1:00pm ET featuring small business leaders sharing expert advice and tips on putting strategies into action.
Every day, we work to create the best environment for businesses.
- We fight efforts in Washington to raise taxes on businesses, like when they target small businesses or try increasing the corporate tax rate.
- We push for a bold trade agenda so more American companies have better access to global markets. Ninety-seven percent of U.S. companies that export are small- and medium-sized.
- We hold government agencies accountable when they go beyond Congressional and constitutional authority even if it means we take them to court.
Bottom line: Small businesses are the beating heart of America’s economy and we understand why it is so crucial they have the best possible conditions to do their work. We work every day to advocate for small business interests and help them achieve their goals. By all measures, our impact for them is substantial, and small businesses are strongly engaged with the U.S. Chamber.