In Support of Small Business

You have a business to run, so the team at SBAM constantly monitors issues affecting small business so you don’t have to.  SBAM also helps to give you and other small business owners a voice in the democratic process by connecting members with influential policymakers.

You can help protect your small business and help bolster Michigan’s entrepreneurs by getting involved today.

SBAM has an easy way for you to contact your elected officials. Take action now and voice your support for small business by:

  • Contacting your legislators
  • Examining voting records   
  • Locating your elected officials
  • Tracking key issues
  • Learning about elections

Policy Agenda

SBAM recently released its Small Business Policy Agenda. Download your copy here.


Latest Legislative News

This week’s small business legislative update, and what you need to know about marketing in 2014. Today on Business Next.

Hear this week’s small business legislative update with SBAM’s Director of Government Relations Dave Jessup. Also, Nicole Meloche, president of Organik Consulting, discusses key things you need to know when planning your 2014 marketing budget.

Listen Friday at 10-11 a.m. ET (replay at 3 p.m., 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.) at Downloadable podcast versions of previous shows available here.

BIGGBY co-founder: "The environment for business in Michigan has improved dramatically”

Article and video courtesy of the Office of the Governor

Last year, Michigan's small businesses reportedly created more than 14,300 jobs in our state, and they remain an important part of our state's comeback. So what do small business owners think about their future in Michigan? We asked BIGGBY COFFEE co-founder (and SBAM Board Chairman) Bob Fish for his opinion.

"In the last two years, the environment for business in Michigan has improved dramatically," Fish said. He points to the elimination of the Michigan Business Tax as one key reason that things have gotten better for job creators, and he credits Governor Snyder's policies for planting the seeds to help entrepreneurship thrive.

"What he's really doing is improving the infrastructure, the long-term view of what it means to be employed in Michigan, or what it means to create your own job, or what it means to create your own company," Fish explained. "So that long view is, 'We're going to take care of all the things that are barriers today to employment, barriers today to growing your own business' -- and I love that particular viewpoint, that long viewpoint."

President’s message on Affordable Care Act impacts individual and small group plans

At the Small Business Association of Michigan, we have promised to keep you up to date and informed on news regarding the Affordable Care Act and its impact on your business and your employees.  Yesterday, there was a major announcement from the White House.  We are working hard to both understand the announcement’s implications and adjust for the future.

In an effort to repair damage to the Affordable Care Act roll-out, President Obama announced a plan to let insurance companies renew for one year the health plans for individual and small business customers whose policies would otherwise be terminated. See the letter to insurance commissioners.

Essentially, the message is that insurance carriers may extend through 2014 the policies that do not meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act.  But it is nowhere near that simple.

The decision on whether or not to allow insurance carriers to extend these policies will be made on a state-by-state basis; having been left up to insurance commissioners to allow the “fix” to go forward.  Therefore, the first decision must be made by Michigan’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services Commissioner Ann Flood and then by individual insurance carriers.

From our perspective, this announcement from the White House leaves many unanswered questions and certainly complicates an already confusing world of individual and small group health insurance.  This decision must be reviewed from both a logical and logistical perspective.  For the President’s “fix” to work, carriers face many difficult decisions and little time in which to make them.  Carriers will have to breathe new life into old plans within 30 days. That involves figuring out how much these plans should cost; submitting the plans to the state for approval; communicating the new plans to individuals and groups, many that have already made changes; enrolling customers into new plans; setting up the billing process; and many other things that will be very difficult to do on a short time-frame.

Additionally, if a state and carrier decides to move forward and allow plans that have been, or were scheduled to be cancelled to renew, insurance carriers must tell policyholders that their plans do not meet the new minimum standards and must inform them about other options on the Exchange, including the availability of any subsidies. This sets up the very real possibility of adverse selection between the pools with the young and healthy keeping their current plans and those with pre-existing conditions selecting the plans under the ACA – that is a real problem for insurance carriers to reconcile.

We have been in touch with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network and they are considering their options.  We received this message:  

"We monitored today’s remarks by President Obama, but we will need to review and understand the changes he is proposing in the ACA regulations before we are able to let you know the impact of those changes on coverage.  We will be notifying all of our members of how this will affect them in the near future. We ask that you to continue to monitor the media and our Blues blog at for more information. We will also notify all of our members of their options as outlined by the President."

As this issue unfolds over the coming days and weeks, you can always count on SBAM to be your source for accurate and up to date information. 

Lt. Gov. Calley says get ready for high tech job growth in Michigan. Today on Business Next.

Today on Business Next, excerpts of the keynote address delivered by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley at the Michigan Broadband Conference. He talks about the bright potential for high tech job growth in the state. Also from the Broadband Conference, a presentation by Matt McHale, manager of small and medium size business sales for Google's office in Ann Arbor, and interviews with Jordan Breighner, founder of Cool House Labs in Harbor Springs; and Chris Burns, creator of the Gelo Bluetooth proximity sensor.

Listen Wednesday at 10-11 a.m. ET (replay at 3 p.m., 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.) at the Downloadable podcast versions of previous shows available here.

Participate in the 2014 Michigan Economic Outlook Survey

The Small Business Association of Michigan, in cooperation with chambers and associations throughout the state, is again participating in the 2014 Michigan Economic Outlook Survey. This is a statewide effort that will help us better determine how we can make our communities great places to grow a business. By providing your feedback in this survey, you are part of a broad effort to help Michigan’s economy become stronger and healthier.

Follow this link to the survey:  Take the Survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:

This survey is made possible by the Baker Strategy Group, a consulting firm helping clients in the Great Lakes region develop growth strategies, and CFI Group, a global leader in providing customer feedback insights through analytics.

If you have any questions or concerns about the survey, please contact:
David Baker
(734) 355-8232

Thank you in advance for completing this survey and providing your input. Please feel free to forward the survey links to your small business colleagues so they can provide their input as well.

Huntington, MEDC and Gov. Snyder announce co-development of program envisioning $250 million in new statewide lending

Huntington Bank announced a unique microlending partnership with the state of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Thought to be the first program of its kind and a prototype for the nation, the Pure Michigan Micro Lending Initiative is backed by a Huntington statewide commitment of $25 million – including $5 million in support of Detroit small business lending starting immediately. Through the Initiative, MEDC-backing will make possible as much as $250 million in new total statewide lending by engaging other banks operating in Michigan that follow Huntington’s funding commitment in support of small business job growth.

Huntington is leading the Initiative in conjunction with MEDC as part of its commitment to invest in Michigan and help the Midwest economic recovery by supporting new job creation at the small business level to help reduce un- and under-employment. Huntington’s $25 million commitment will be distributed through lines of credit provided to community microlenders participating in the Initiative. The MEDC will provide initial credit reserves in support of the program, enabling up to $225 million in further bank partner funding for small business microloans. It is a new, repeatable model for microlending that other states can follow.

The program was launched in Detroit via community microlending partner Detroit Development Fund (DDF). It will target small business owners in need of atypically low, “micro” loan infusions beyond the scope of what traditional bank underwriting can finance.

Huntington will provide core lending funding to DDF of $5 million through 2018. In conjunction with MEDC backing and funding, and possible further foundation grant support and other bank funding, the total impact is expected to drive significantly more investment in Detroit small business development beyond Huntington’s initial funding, and serve as an example of what other Michigan communities can accomplish through locally created partnerships using the Initiative model.

The goal of attracting $250 million in Michigan microlending represents the largest microlending program ever established in the state, and is thought to be by far the largest-ever microlending effort in the country. According to the U.S. Microenterprise Census, total active microloans nationwide equaled $132.8 million in 2010, the latest industry self-reported data available as compiled by FIELD at the Aspen Institute.

Huntington Michigan executives Jim Dunlap and Mike Fezzey joined Gov. Rick Snyder to announce the Pure Michigan Micro Lending Initiative from Detroit at E & S Uniforms and Apparel – a small business that recently launched in the city with support from microlending through the Detroit Development Fund and other community microlending sources.

“Huntington approached MEDC with the concept of a repeatable microlending program structure to help small businesses grow and hire additional employees within Michigan communities,” said Dunlap, regional and commercial banking director. “The program represents a unique next phase of our partnership with the state toward greater growth and prosperity. It is also an important first step toward filling a funding gap for promising small businesses throughout Michigan, for hard-working entrepreneurs who would otherwise have difficulty getting the specialized lending support they need.”

“This kind of innovative effort and collaboration led by Huntington Bank and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will help build a stronger Michigan and generate job growth by supporting small businesses and our state’s budding entrepreneurs,” Snyder said. “I am confident that early success in Detroit will quickly generate momentum in this initiative that activates further community partnerships and economic activity around the state.”

“Increased lending availability for small business opportunities that

Gov. Snyder says we need to match talent with available jobs. Today on Business Next

Today on Business Next, more excerpts of a presentation that Gov. Snyder made at the recent Small Business Association of Michigan’s first annual Leadership Council Summit. He talked with the nearly 100 entrepreneurs in attendance about what the state can do to address the mismatch between talent and available jobs and the challenge of spreading the word that Michigan has plenty of career opportunities for our young people.

Also at the Leadership Council Summit, there was a very interesting panel discussion by past chairs of SBAM’s board of directors. Moderated by current chair Bob Fish of BIGGBY COFFEE, the leaders talked about why they thought it was valuable to get involved with the association, what their volunteer service has done for them as a small business leader and the culture and DNA of the SBAM board.

Listen Friday at 10-11 a.m. ET (replay at 3 p.m., 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.). Downloadable podcast versions of previous shows available here.

Gov. Snyder talks small business growth and prosperity. Today on Business Next

Today on Business Next, excerpts of a presentation that Gov. Snyder made at the recent Small Business Association of Michigan’s first annual Leadership Council Summit. He talked for two hours with the nearly 100 entrepreneurs in attendance about his experience as a venture capitalist, what makes a good business environment, how the philosophy of economic gardening has changed economic development in Michigan, why he is committed to what he calls relentless positive action, why Michigan needs more investment in its transportation infrastructure and what needs to be done in the area of health care cost containment.

Listen Wednesday
at 10-11 a.m. ET (replay at 3 p.m., 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.). Downloadable podcast versions of previous shows available here.