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SBAM Achievements Make A Difference for Our Members

June 15, 2022

Originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS Magazine

In a time when Michigan small businesses need support more than ever, the Small Business Association of Michigan continues to be their preeminent voice, convener and champion, creating the best environment for all to thrive. Macro items, like the pandemic, inflation, labor shortages and state government gridlock (to name a few), continue to hinder the growth and advancement of many small businesses within our state.

As time quickly passes in my role as Chair of SBAM’s Board of Directors, I reflect back on what the organization achieved during the past 12 months. First and foremost was the successful CEO transition from Rob Fowler to Brian Calley that was planned and implemented over several years with professionalism and grace. The “Passing of the Torch” celebration event exemplified SBAM’s growth under Rob’s leadership, while catching a glimpse of SBAM’s vision for the future.

The secret recipe to the many achievements over the past year is the SBAM staff who wakes up every morning with the focus to make a difference for their members. They played a key role in organizing, hosting and/or leading the following initiatives:

  • Convening over 100 business owners, Governor Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Minority Floor Leader, two Supreme Court Justices, four Republican gubernatorial hopefuls, the MEDC CEO, and panels on child care, foster care and education at “Lansing Advocacy Day” during the Winter Leadership Council event.
  • Helping small businesses attract and retain critical talent with the creation of the Pooled Retirement Program (401k plans) that is unique and a game-changer for businesses that thought they could not afford it.
  • Establishing the next Strategic Plan to guide SBAM’s focus for the next three years.
  • Passing specific legislation that applies more State of Michigan resources toward helping Michigan small businesses, and influencing the hiring of a new position within USDA-Rural Development.
  • Advocating against the federal OSHA vaccine mandate via amicus brief filing on behalf of its members.
  • Campaigning to help defeat the IRS proposal to require banks to provide detailed information on your bank account transactions.
  • Bringing business owners back together in multiple Owner-to-Owner (O2O) events across Michigan, which connected hundreds of owners from every region. One such event was the “Operation Action UP/BOSS” event hosted in Marquette.
  • Expanding the Tri-Share Pilot Program to 59 counties in Michigan, which provides access to affordable options for child care.
  • Supporting, through testimony, the allocation of $250 million into the unemployment insurance trust fund to support small business owners.

Several are trend-setting achievements that will positively impact the future of the SBAM organization and the value it delivers to its 30,000+ members. Through my years of being involved in many different public and private groups, I have come to realize that great organizations are defined by what they accomplish during difficult times, not what happens when everything is going their way. My desire is that every small business owner in Michigan remains optimistic about their futures and the positive impact they have on the communities they serve.

Bill Kimble is the owner of C2AE and the 2021-2022 Board Chair of SBAM.

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