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NEWS | SBC 2023 Analysis and Recap

NSBA’s Priority Issues are clear, and we can’t wait to get started working with Congress to improve opportunities and impacts of the country’s small-business community!

NSBA’s biennial event known as the Small Business Congress was back in-person this year, with more than 100 small-business owners making their way to Washington to convene and identify our community’s policy priorities for the 118th Session of Congress.

SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman takes a second to welcome SBC attendees with a video message on the importance of supporting the nation’s small-business community.

Headquartered in the historic Hotel Washington in the heart of downtown D.C., SBC began its program with our first Issue Panel on economic development, taking an in-depth look at the state of financing for small business, innovation and technology, federal contracting and global trade, as well as the policies in these areas that should and need to be addressed by Congress. Attendees heard from two sub-panels during this overall session: the first on procurement and the second on access to capital and lending.

Procurement Panelists (L-R): NSBA First Vice Chair Marilyn Wilson (moderator) SBA Associate Administrator Bibi Hidalgo, from the SBA Office of Government Contracting and Business Development; Bill Belknap with the award-winning AEONRG; and Candace Waterman from Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP).

The second sub-panel featured a lively discussion on credit and capital formation with insights from Diedra Henry-Spires, Senior Advisor to SBA Administrator Guzman and Olivia Nutter with the Page30 Coalition They discussed pandemic recovery efforts and the myriad of SBA programs available to help small businesses.

Capital formation panelists: NSBA First Vice Chair Marilyn Wilson (moderator), Diedra Henry-Spires, Senior Advisor to SBA Administrator Guzman and Olivia Nutter with the Page30 Coalition

SBC 2023’s second Issue Panel focused on taxation, exploring the various expiring tax credits and deductions, enhanced IRS enforcement, overall tax burden and complexity, and how lawmakers and regulators can help small business.

Taxation Issue Panel featuring (L-R): NSBA Taxation Committee Chair Michael Canty (moderator), William McBride with the Tax Foundation, Rhett Buttle of the Small Business Roundtable, and Brian Reardon, President of the S-Corp Association

Between vote and before lunch, NSBA attendees heard from Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce who spoke on her priorities and the efforts of the GOP leadership in the House when it comes to small business.

After a busy morning, SBC attendees broke bread together and heard from long-time friend of NSBA, Donald Cravins, Jr., Esq., the U.S. Department of Commerce's first Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development. His engaging and entertaining speech talked about his own triumphs and tribulations of working to overcome inequities – especially in business. His life-long championing of small business and work on Capitol Hill—leading the Senate Small Business Committee staff during former-Chair Sen. Mary Landrieu’s tenure—has positioned him perfectly to lead Commerce’s efforts to help small businesses as they emerge from the pandemic.

Secretary Cravins snaps a photo with NSBA Board Trustee and cousin Calvin Mills after offering a powerful speech on the importance of perseverance in small business, even in the face of adversity.

NSBA President Todd McCracken then hosted a fireside chat with economic experts and highly respected journalists Heather Long of the Washington Postand with Zach Warmbrodt from POLITICO, who shared invaluable insight on the economy, what to expect in the coming months and years, and underscored the importance of small business to the overall U.S. economy.

Media Fireside Chat Panelists (L-R): Heather Long Heather Long from the Washington Post, Zachary Warmbrodt from POLITICO and NSBA President Todd McCracken (moderator).

Moving into the afternoon, the Environment and Regulatory Affairs Panel (ERA) convened, talking big picture issues and helping attendees identify targeted solutions for small businesses dealing with burdensome regulations, energy prices, and often-confusing environmental rules.

ERA Panelists (L-R) NSBA's ERA Committee Chair Timothy Opsitnick (moderator), Joy Ragsdale of the Federal Communications Commission Office of Communicaitons, Janis Reyes from the SBA Office of Advocacy, and Major Clark - Deputy Chief Counsel for Advocacy.

SBC 2023’s Health and Human Regulations (HHR) Issue Panel was up next, where panelists discussed health insurance, retirement, labor issues and the nation’s workforce to identify the most important steps policymakers can take to make hiring and keeping employees a reality.

HHR Panelists : NSBA HHR Committee Chair Mike Schreurs, Gusto's Head of Policy Steven Abbott, Taylor Maag, Director of Workforce Policy with Progressive Policy Institute, and Ron Painter – CEO of the National Association of Workforce Boards.

Concluding the substantive work of day one for SBC 2023, attendees chose between two concurrent sessions: Small Business Growth with Digital Tools - a fireside chat with Diana Doukas, Public Policy Manager at Meta, discussing the ways that small businesses leverage digital tools to grow their business, from organic content like Reels, to personalized ads and the metaverse; and Doing Business with the Federal Government – a session lead by NSBA’s friends at PRISM Group public affairs and lobbying, covering the basics of doing business with the government and the resources available to you to get your foot in the door.

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s SBC, check out PRISM Group’s resources guide on all things contracting for small business.

Digital Tools Session Panelists (L-R): Diana Doukas with Meta and NSBA’s Todd McCracken.

Federal Contracting Session Panelists (L-R): John Stanford, managing partner at Prism and Alexis D’Amato, director of government affairs at Prism.

Although they weren’t able to attend in person, Congresswomen Davids (KS-03) and Chu (CA-28) sent prepared remarks pledging their support to continuing the conversation with the entire small-business community through NSBA’s channeled efforts.

The small-business leaders in attendance at SBC were thoughtful, pragmatic and shared their insight to help move the ball down the field on their key priorities. Hat tip to Martha Hernandez, who kept the conversation going and wasn’t shy to speak up for small business.

Cheers-ing to a productive first day of SBC 2023, attendees networked and relaxed at a rooftop reception, where activities at the White House were in full swing ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union Remarks.

15th Street was alive with the sounds of sirens and Secret Service, as a sunset welcomed the evening for a beautiful end of day for SBC 2023!

In case you missed it, NSBA President Todd McCracken shared some remarks on the President’s annual address, including renewing NSBA’s commitment to working with any Member of Congress to support opportunities for small business.

Starting day two of SBC 2023 with a hearty breakfast featuring Sen. Mike Braun (IN), House Small Business Committee Chair Rep. Roger Williams (TX), Rep. Bill Foster (IL), and Rep. Adrian Smith (NE), attendees were ready to move into the issue debating and voting.

Chair Willaims addresses SBC 2023 attendees over breakfast at the Hotel Washington.

Rep. Smith spending some time with our NSBA members after his remarks over breakfast on the importance of ensuring sound policies affecting small business.

Next, John Stanford joined NSBA President Todd McCracken for a preview of Congress’ legislative plans for the next two years comprising the 118th Session. With voting margins razor thin, findings means of cooperation by maintaining bipartisan positions is the only way small business will find success in changing policies affecting bottom lines and opportunities to create jobs for others.

Ahead of SBC 2023, NSBA hosted three Regional Listening Sessions to glean insights on NSBA members’ priorities regarding the realities of running their small business.

From there, SBC attendees worked through the interactive app Poll Everywhere, allowing NSBA members to review and select priorities they would like to see pursued during the current 118th Session of Congress.

Through this exercise and as a representation of our entire community’s focus, NSBA was able to discern the top 10 priorities affecting small business today. With these 10 matters identified, NSBA’s marching orders are clear: these are our priorities to be pursued with Congress and in the regulatory bureaucracy through 2025.

Priorities are reselected every two years at the beginning of a new Session of Congress, and while these issues are NSBA’s priorities, the staff and leadership will continue to work on a wide array of issues that impact small business.

Thank you to all of this year's attendees and supporters who made SBC 2023 a great success and a great start to providing solutions to the regulatory and financial constraints limiting American small businesses.

We’re already planning for our annual fly-in – the Washington Presentaiton – where NSBA members are encouraged to meet with their Members of Congress to champion conversation on how to action the priorities identified at SBC 2023.

Follow NSBA, share your pictures and small business story any chance you get on social media, and keep up the fight for small business!


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