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

Get great tips for small business success! Listen to our free Business Next audio seminar

HR expert Julie Mann discusses how to help job seekers fit in to small business job opportunities; Rob Trube, author of the business planning book “The Simple Focus Plan”; Athena Trentin, program director of the Global Talent Retention Initiative, discusses the role of talented immigrants in growing Michigan’s small business economy; Shelley Lowe, director of career services of Davenport University, talks about training resources for complying with state and federal regulations; James Muffett on the Student Statesmanship Institute Business Track program.

Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.      

New survey shows Michigan’s public universities embrace entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurial degrees, classes, clubs and competitions are springing up at all 15 Michigan public universities, a new survey by the Michigan Sense of Place Council shows, as higher education institutions react to the state’s changing economy. The Council is a public-private collaborative that supports development of places with a quality of life that attracts talented people and entrepreneurs and that can compete in a global marketplace.

“It’s pretty phenomenal how much has begun happening in a short period of time,” said Rob Fowler, CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) and chair of the Council’s entrepreneurship committee. “It seems like it’s happening all over the state. Much of it is student led, but it includes entrepreneurship degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s level, helping companies in their communities through venture capital funds and incubators, and student clubs and companies.”

For more than a decade, SBAM has been a leader in pushing for more entrepreneurial education and opportunities on college campuses, working with state, university and business leaders to increase the awareness of the importance of entrepreneurs as the state moves away from its longstanding dependence on the traditional automotive economy.

The survey by the Sense of Place Council of entrepreneurial opportunities on public university campuses in Michigan was conducted by Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) of Lansing. Jeffrey D. Padden, president of PPA, said the Sense of Place Council regards cultivation of entrepreneurial spirit as critical to creating vibrant regions, downtowns, and neighborhoods where people want to live, work, and open businesses.

“This survey showed that in recent years, all sorts of entrepreneurial activities have exploded on campuses across the state. Michigan’s universities are well on the way to creating truly entrepreneurial campuses,” said Mr. Padden. “Small businesses, started by risk takers prepared for major challenges, are vital to any successful community, particularly our downtowns. Entrepreneurs can drive the rebirth of Michigan’s cities, creating the exciting, livable neighborhoods that attract young talent. Universities are doing their part to fill that pipeline.”

Michael A. Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan, which represents the 15 public universities, said universities have heard state leaders ask for entrepreneurial programs, and have responded with a variety of opportunities for students as well as those already in business. “We have professors mentoring entrepreneur clubs, upper level classes on evaluation of risk, university sponsored incubators and more. Michigan’s universities are taking the lead in ensuring those who are interested in launching a startup—or bringing an entrepreneurial spirit to their current workplace—have the tools to do so.”

Highlights of the survey results include:

More academic programs: At least 10 Michigan universities have entrepreneurial degree programs. Several have added majors or minors within colleges of business in recent years, while others have expanded their course offerings for all students.

At Michigan State University, the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management's specialization in entrepreneurship combines core business disciplines with experiential assignments in which students work with entrepreneurs to solve real-world problems.

Entrepreneur magazine ranks Central Michigan University's program in the top 26 of all regional programs nationwide. Grand Valley State University is developing a new double major in business and entrepreneurship.

Universities are also encouraging entrepreneurial thinking across disciplines. Saginaw Valley State University, for instance, offers a minor in entrepreneurship for all students in addition to its entrepreneur concentration in the MBA progr

Listen today to learn how you can engage with the new Small Business Jobs Insight project. 10 a.m. on the free Business Next audio seminar.

(Photo: Traverse City small business owner Lisa Wehr of Oneupweb tells reporters how her firm is filling jobs.) 

Coverage of the Traverse City launch event for Small Business Jobs Insight project: interviews with Doug Luciani, president of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce; Rob Fowler, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan; Lisa Wehr, owner of Oneupweb; Dave Moore, owner of Village Press; and Laura Oblinger, chief operating officer for the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. Also, an interview with Donna Napolitano, owner of Mechanical Energy Systems, about their April 14 southeast Michigan Earth Day Open House.

Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.      

SBAM's Jobs Insight in the News

Earlier this week, SBAM launched its website, which tracks small business job growth in Michigan. 

Check out the news coverage on the launch from around the state!

9 & 10 News in Traverse City: Northern Michigan's News Leader  - Featuring SBAM member OneUpWeb

The Traverse City Record-Eagle: Website tracks Michigan job growth New website highlights small business job creation in Michigan

Is your business growing?  Tell your story!  Visit to learn more.

Be sure to check back to to view the jobs ticker and learn more about this project.  You can also "Like" Michigan Jobs Insight on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Small business owners sharing their stories of jobs filled across Michigan

The Michigan’s Small Business Jobs Insight project (, designed to tally and report the growing number of small business jobs being filled in regions and industries across Michigan, launched today at a kickoff event at the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Job growth in Michigan is overwhelmingly centered in the small business sector and we believe it’s important to document this growth and report the impact these jobs are having on our state’s economic comeback,” says Rob Fowler, President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM). “We are very pleased that the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Jobs Insight and has partnered with SBAM to help support entrepreneurs in northwest Michigan.” 

The key elements of include:

• a ticker that displays jobs reported by growing small businesses in the current month;
• a pie chart that shows the percentage per Michigan region of the total jobs reported per month;
• total jobs reported for the year to-date;
• the top ten industries for small business growth; and
• links to individual stories of regional small business job growth.

“Michigan has put tremendous public policy tools in place, from business tax reform to improvements in the regulatory climate to a new emphasis on economic gardening, that help lay a foundation of entrepreneurial business and employment growth,” Fowler says. “We know that small business owners are taking advantage of the improved business climate fostered by these public policy changes to fill job openings and accelerate job creation. reports where these jobs are and how they are benefitting everyone in our state.” is not a scientific count of every job filled in the small business community.

“We are reporting the jobs filled by our members and, if anything, these totals under-report the full, dramatic growth of small business jobs across the state,” Fowler says. “To enhance our reporting, we encourage individual small businesses to contact us with their stories of job creation.”

In addition to the website, MichiganJobsInsight can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

"This is the year of Jobs, Jobs and Jobs for the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce; creation, retention and growth are vital to this area. It was through our work on a Job-o-Meter that the Chamber and SBAM realized there was potential to collaborate and partner for We are thrilled with the result and look forward to watching our region grow, now in a tangible and visual capacity,” Douglas Luciani, President and CEO of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the Small Business Association of Michigan and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, MichiganJobsInsight is a collaborative statewide effort between Issue Media Group and other partners to capture small business job growth through editorial coverage with focus on growth and innovation.

SBAM represented at JOBS Act bill signing at White House

President Obama on Thursday signed into law the Jump-Start Our Business Start-ups (JOBS) Act, which will significantly improve small businesses’ ability to raise capital and help companies generate sustainable economic growth and jobs. The National Small Business Association (NSBA), which is SBAM’s national affiliate, was a leading proponent of the JOBS Act, and, as such, was invited to attend the bill signing in the White House Rose Garden.

NSBA Chair Chris Holman (a past chair of SBAM) was in the audience for the ceremony (pictured left.) “America’s small businesses have struggled to secure financing throughout the economic downturn which has greatly hindered our ability to grow and create jobs,” stated Holman, CEO of Michigan Business and President of The Greater Lansing Business Monthly. “The signing of this bill comes not a minute too soon.” 

According to NSBA data over the past nearly 20 years, there has been a direct correlation between job growth and small-business owners’ ability to garner financing—when small businesses have adequate financing, they create jobs. 
Today’s signing of the JOBS Act will enact: a crowdfunding exemption allowing small companies to raise up to $1 million in a 12-month period which includes a preemption of state blue sky laws; the creation of an IPO OnRamp; an increase of the aggregate offering amount of all securities sold under Regulation A from $5 million to $50 million; and language allowing for general solicitation or general advertising to find accredited investors.

“The bipartisan passage of the JOBS Act and today’s signing ceremony exemplify how things in Washington can, and should work,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken. “When pragmatism and sound policy take precedence over politics, good things can happen.”