Crucial time for policymakers to support entrepreneurs

Perhaps you had a lemonade stand when you were young. For many entrepreneurs, a lemonade stand was their first entrepreneurial venture.

This pandemic has cost Illinoisans their jobs and for some, the prospects of finding similar work remains bleak. This has prompted many folks to start their own businesses, perhaps for the first time since they served refreshing beverages in the neighborhood. They are looking to turn life-changing lemons into lemonade. Illinois politicians should make reforms that will foster the success of new business owners.

The Small Business Advisory Council is advocating for occupational licensing reform. This will open the door for entrepreneurs committed to starting a business in a wide array of professions. Legislators must have the tools to analyze whether proposed occupational licenses are reasonable and necessary. This will prevent unnecessary red tape from shutting entrepreneurs out of certain professions.

Illinois policymakers must also scrutinize existing occupational licenses to determine whether they remain narrowly tailored and appropriate. It is imperative that Illinois recognize professional and occupational licenses from other states. This will encourage entrepreneurs to consider moving to our state and starting a business here.

In Chicago, removing unnecessary red tape for home-based businesses has become a priority. The recovery of the Windy City is crucial for the entire region and fostering the growth of small and local businesses will be critical.

There are Chicagoans who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and are interested in launching home-based businesses. Expanding the amount of space these entrepreneurs can use in their residences for the business, allowing them to use garages in a responsible manner and making additional common-sense reforms provide them a better opportunity to succeed and create jobs.

Illinois politicians should create a nonpartisan task force to review current rules and regulations that hinder the growth of small businesses. It should also review the costs and fees levied on small businesses. During this difficult time the task force should recommend eliminating any regulations that are unnecessary and negatively impact the small business community. The task force should recommend reducing any excessive fees.

The findings of the task force should be made available to the public. Politicians should convene public hearings where small business owners can share how burdensome regulations impact their operations. Several years ago the SBAC and a strong coalition of small business advocates fought to reduce Illinois' excessively high LLC fees. These fees were eventually reduced, benefiting small businesses across the state.

Each dollar is important to an entrepreneur starting a business. Every minute matters for small business owners trying to recover from a devastating pandemic.

Occupational licensing reform and making it easier for Chicagoans to launch a home-based business will help many small businesses in Illinois. Forming a task force to recommend cutting more unnecessary red tape and acting on those recommendations, will unleash entrepreneurs and grow our economy.

• Elliot Richardson is co-founder and president of the Small Business Advisory Council.

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