Thank you, Steve. And good morning everyone. Thank you for joining us at America's Top Small Business Summit.
Today, we celebrate the important role our nation's entrepreneurs and small businesses play in our communities and our economy. We bring together the brightest small business owners along with the leaders of America's most successful companies.
You'll have the opportunity to network with colleagues, discover new strategies to grow your business, and learn from fellow entrepreneurs.
Presenting sponsors who made this summit possible: Enova and its small business lending platform, OnDeck; and all sponsors: Dell Technologies, FedEx, Experian Employer Services, Iron Mountain, Oracle NetSuite, Square, and T-Mobile. I would like to thank you. For Business and Walmart Business – Thank you for your generous support.
I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to all the small and medium-sized business owners and entrepreneurs who took time out of their work schedules to participate, as well as to all those who traveled to participate. We know there are many demands on your time and resources, and we are honored that you have chosen to spend your time and resources here today.
Representing hundreds of thousands of small businesses is one of the most impactful things we do here at the Chamber. This is also something I'm very passionate about because I've been in your shoes. I sat where you were sitting.
I have experience founding and running small businesses, so I understand first-hand the thrill of both. and Anxiety about starting a business. Take that risk yourself your name, your brand, and your Personal capital is at stake — I know what that leap is like.
There's also the pressure of payroll, the responsibility of signing the front of a check, and the joy of telling someone, “I got the job.” One of his proudest accomplishments is that he created 23 high-paying jobs.
Small business owners truly understand what work means to individuals and communities. It means a steady paycheck, financial stability, and family support. It means dignity, self-determination, achievement, and hope.
And the knowledge that you are making a difference, changing lives, and improving your community can help you overcome challenges. A long day is worth every minute and every drop of sweat is worth it.
That desire to create jobs and opportunity is what made me love being a small business owner, and what led me back to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and into my current role. It was.
During my time as an entrepreneur and CEO of a fast-growing company, I learned first-hand that some of the biggest challenges companies face come from a place with little experience: Washington, D.C. .
When you run a small business, you don't just wear one role, you might be the office manager, bookkeeper, chief human resources officer, or head of the IT department. And given all the gridlock and uncertainty and overregulation and tax burdens Washington is throwing at you, perhaps you feel the need to become a lobbyist, lawyer, or policy expert. Probably.
Who has time for that? I know it's not!
But all of us here in this chamber do. We are here to help.
From labor shortages to regulatory overreach, inflationary pressures, rising interest rates, access to capital, increased retail crime, and the threat of out-of-control tax spending policies from Washington, the Chamber is here to help. is.
We believe that businesses of all sizes should have a fighting chance to prove their worth in the marketplace, and we have tirelessly advocated for a policy environment that creates jobs, growth and opportunity.
Here are just a few examples…
We have a Small Business Council made up of 100 small business owners from across the country who travel to Capitol Hill, meet with their legislators, and advocate for our work to push for policies that make it easier to do business. is conducting.
We work side-by-side with state associations and local chambers of commerce across the country to advocate with one strong voice on important policy issues at the local, state, and national levels.
We partner with MetLife to survey small businesses quarterly. This allows us to make our case known, tells policymakers how they can better support your business, and helps us stay current on the issues that matter most.
We fight efforts in Washington to raise taxes on businesses, especially when small businesses are targeted or when we seek to raise corporate tax rates.
When it comes to trade, more than 97 percent of the 270,000 U.S. exporters are small businesses, and small businesses generate about one-third of U.S. merchandise exports. That's why the Chamber continues to advance a bold trade agenda that will greatly benefit working families and small business job creators.
We hold government agencies accountable when they exceed their Congressional or constitutional authority, even if it means going to court.
We are demanding meaningful reform to America's antiquated permitting process because it is unacceptable that federal permits can take up to seven and a half years to be approved. In communities across the country, these costly and time-consuming delays hold up projects large and small and squander opportunities for growth.
We are leading a multifaceted effort to address one of the most serious challenges facing small and medium-sized businesses: the labor shortage crisis. We are working with a powerful coalition of partners to advance policies that prepare today's workforce for tomorrow's jobs and reform immigration policy to meet the needs of the 21st century.
At our Chamber, we are proud to support and fight for the entire business ecosystem. Because that's exactly what our economy is: a diverse ecosystem. The big ones, the small ones, and everything in between.
And the people in Washington who are trying to pit big business against small business have no understanding of our economy.
It's true that small businesses depend on large businesses, but large businesses also depend on small businesses. They are each other's vendors, suppliers, customers, and partners, and each employs consumers who maintain the entire system.
That's why earlier this year, we launched the Prompt Pay Pledge to encourage businesses to pay their small business suppliers faster so they can invest and grow. When small suppliers have sufficient cash flow, they can make improvements such as faster shipping and better materials and products that benefit customers.
We are thrilled that Intuit, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citadel, Siemens, AGCO, Alpha Technologies, and more than 25 other companies have already signed this pledge.
Now, some of you may be thinking this.This advocacy work is important and I'm glad the Chamber is doing it, but what I'm really focused on is getting my startup off the ground or getting my business off the ground. It's just a matter of continuing to do it throughout the day. ”
Or maybe you're thinking this.I'm a small business now, but I want to be a big company tomorrow. I want to grow. ”
The Chamber of Commerce can help with that, too.
Many of you are familiar with CO-, our small business digital platform, and have used it as a resource. For those who haven't yet, CO connects the Chamber of Commerce with more than 6 million small businesses annually to help them start, run, and grow.
We connect with entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey, providing advice that is urgent, relevant and inspiring.
During the pandemic and subsequent startup boom, CO- helped millions of businesses survive and thrive in this new era of small business ownership.
CO—helps businesses reach their full potential and elevates the success stories of small and medium-sized businesses across the country.
Today we have the opportunity to hear from finalists for the America's Top Small Businesses awards program. From a record field of over 15,000 applicants, we narrowed it down to the top 70 small businesses in America. I'm glad that so many of you are joining us today.
You are winners because of your deep community involvement, creative success strategies, and ability to overcome challenges.
The finalists have been narrowed down to seven companies, and tonight one of them will be named “America's Top Small Business.”
Each of these small businesses represents the resilience and growth mindset of American entrepreneurship. They make dreams come true, solve problems, and strengthen society every day. I would like to ask the top 70 winners and his seven finalists who will be joining us this morning to stand up and be recognized.
Congratulations on your achievement. Your stories inspire us all and inspire the Chamber's daily work.
Starting a small business takes courage and sacrifice. It takes guts and determination to keep it going. And changing the world requires ideas and ingenuity.
You are a dreamer, a doer, and an innovator. And the Chamber of Commerce is here to help you. keep dream, keep doing it, and keep It's innovative.
We are proud to be with you, continue to fight for you, and are always rooting for you.
Thank you for your hard work and enjoy this year's Summit.