The U.S. Chamber’s State of American Business is an annual event that recognizes American businesses. In a recent episode of the U.S. Chamber Small Business Update, Tom Sullivan, Vice President of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, shared highlights from the event.
Sullivan explained that the annual event provides an opportunity for the U.S. Chamber to lay out its expectations for the year ahead. The Chamber represents approximately three million businesses in the U.S., most of which are small businesses. During the event, Suzanne Clark, the CEO of the Chamber, presented the Chamber’s agenda.
1. According to Sullivan, this year’s Chamber of Commerce event differed from previous ones. Clark, a former business owner, was introduced by Lilian Werbin, the winner of America’s Top Small Business and the owner of Elderly Instruments. In Clark’s address, she painted an optimistic picture for businesses, focusing on the defense of free enterprise.
2. For the first time since Sullivan has been with the Chamber, Clark’s speech did not include policy prescriptions. Instead, she made two primary points. The first point emphasized small businesses’ importance and contribution to communities and the economy. Clark acknowledged the negative news but highlighted how businesses are essential as a nation prioritizing pro-business.
3. The second point of Clark’s speech was the defense of free enterprise. Clark discussed what’s at stake for individual creativity and entrepreneurship in creating commerce, which is the system’s fabric.
4. Sullivan believes the Chamber’s event left people excited and motivated because they heard from a passionate former business owner who resonated with them about business. Clark ended the event, quoting Bono, “Entrepreneurship is the surest way of development.”
5. The event was primarily virtual, but local chambers will further spread the message of pro-business empowerment. Moving forward, Sullivan believes we’ll see increased attention or continued attention to cash flow. “We might also notice more discussions around how SMBs can grow without adding employees because most businesses are optimistic about their cash flow.”
6. 2023 saw the largest new business starts ever- with 5.5 million new business applications submitted. Sullivan says, “Though we tend to focus on fixing things that are wrong, there’s a lot to be optimistic about.”
"The miracle of the free enterprise system is that it takes individual potential and force multiplies it for the benefit of all." – Suzanne Clark