Happy National Small Business Week! May 4-8, 2015

Every United States president since 1963 has proclaimed this week National Small Business Week. Find events, information, online webinars and more at www.sba.gov/nsbw/about. Why not celebrate Small Business Week by joining or renewing your membership to Small Business Minnesota? We are the only statewide organization in Minnesota focusing 100 percent on small businesses of every type. Membership or donations welcomed from small business owners (current or retired), supporters and friends.

We may be small but we have a big economic impact! In his proclamation President Obama declared America’s small businesses “the backbone of our economy, employing half of our country’s private sector workforce and creating nearly two out of every three new jobs in our country.”

Welcome featured new member: Twin Ports Resource Recovery

Scott and Jessica Wetter own Twin Ports Resource Recovery, a professional decluttering service that bridges the gap between those with more stuff than they want and those in need. The service is available to anyone in or near Duluth: homeowner, property management company, realtor, cleaning contractor and more.  Quotes are free. They pick up, sort, repair, clean and then distribute the items through one of their partners, including Safe Haven and Habitat for Humanity. “Transforming your unwanted into someone’s needed,” is their passion. Contact Scott at 218-355-8081, friend them on Facebook, sign up for their newsletter.

Your membership matters!
Join and we’ll help spread the word about your business.

It’s legislative conference committee season. Join in!

When the House and Senate pass different versions of the same bill, those bills are sent into conference committee where a new single version of the bill is created.  It is vital to contact legislators who will often be heard in conference committee  or on the floor saying whether or not they were contacted about the bill.

We are small but we have a big impact! Remind legislators that Minnesota small businesses hire more Minnesotans that all of the Fortune 500s combined. Minnesota’s 500,000 small businesses employ 52 percent of our private-sector workforce and contribute more than 50 percent of the GDP.

Contact information for your House representative and your Senator.

Thank you! Crowdfunding for small business passes in House and Senate

Thank you to those who contacted legislators: Crowdfunding for Minnesota’s small business passed in the House and Senate. It will, in all likelihood, become a Minnesota program in 2016. Small Business Minnesota was among the earliest supporters of crowdfunding. Read more at MNvest.org.

House restores Internet access program for small businesses, contact Senators

Thanks to the Small Business Minnesota members and friends who contacted House representatives to restore the adequate Internet access program for small businesses in Greater Minnesota. Now please write or call your senator today and tell them to retain the program.  An estimated 500,000 small business owners, customers and employees have poor or no Internet access.

Property tax: Big win for big corporations, little gain for small businesses

Write or call all House and Senate tax committee members and tell them you do NOT support another tax break for large corporations that already receive tax breaks, grants and infrastructure spending not offered to small businesses. Tell legislators to keep or increase the small business property tax relief that passed last session.  (Small Business Minnesota testified in favor of this law; the state chamber testified against it because it didn’t help big businesses.)

Transportation: Small businesses need adequate, long-term, gimmick-free funding

Small Business Minnesota has been a longtime supporter of properly funding transportation to get small business goods to market, customers to our doors and our employees to work. The House and Senate bills are in conference committee and are miles apart.

Write to House and Senate transportation committees members. Tell them that Minnesota’s 500,000 small businesses and the 1.2 million Minnesotans we employ need adequate, long-term, gimmick-free funding for transportation/transit.

Some key concerns:

1) The House recommends funding that is short-term, inadequate and relies on uncontrolled borrowing.
2) Without long-term guaranteed funding, Minnesota’s bridges – state and local – will continue to rapidly deteriorate and put our state’s economy at risk. Minnesota has 830 bridges currently listed as structurally deficient.  In the next 10 years, another 4,000 bridges will be nearing its lifespan. Some bridges are already closed due to safety concerns.
3) We are losing employees to other states who seek a reliable, robust public transit system. Younger people don’t want to drive when they can ride.

Write or call your legislators today!

Learn more at MoveMN.

Patent reform for small business

Small Business Minnesota is partnering with United for Patent Reform at the federal level, while some related lingers at the state level. Contact your state and federal elected officials and tell them you support patent reform to protect small businesses from unscrupulous patent trolls and frivolous lawsuits. Also, your experiences makes a difference. If you’ve experienced a patent troll, received a demand letter or have had other concerns, please contact Audrey Britton, Small Business Minnesota government relations chair.

Environment: House ignores small business owners’ pleas

The House has passed an environmental policy bill that adversely affects many of our small businesses. Generally, big corporations with highly paid lobbyists were given the run of the Environmental committee while small businesses’ access was largely squelched.

Write or call all members on the House and Senate environmental committees and tell them you support small businesses. 1) Keep  programs that help small businesses in green energy fields, a future economic driver and employer, i.e., wind and solar energy. 2) Keep or further limit chemical dumping into wetlands that will hurt or destroy downstream small businesses, i.e., wild rice producers.

Lending rules: Predatory lenders target small businesses

Having tapped the individual market, predatory lenders are now targeting small businesses. Since small business owners are particularly vulnerable to predatory lending since the owner often has a difficult time accessing capital and may only need a small loan that is not of interest to banks.

Minnesota has some of the weakest predatory lending regulations in the nation. A bill was introduced last session that easily passed in the House but a powerful lobbyist blocked passage in the Senate.

Contact your House representative and your Senator and ask that they pass the previous predatory lender bill.