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BMO and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce publish 2020 Small Business Outlook Survey

February 12, 2020 | Customers

BMO knows that small businesses are the backbone of strong communities. That’s why we partnered with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce to produce the 2020 Small Business Outlook Survey, which gathers insights from hundreds of Chicagoland small business leaders on topics including the state of the local economy, staffing needs, access to capital and more.

Assistant Professor at Loyola University Chicago Alex Krasnikov presented the survey results, which showed that managing cash flow is an area of concern for small businesses. Access to capital also remains a concern for 63 percent of small businesses, up two percent from the previous year.

BMO hosted the survey reveal at our Chicago headquarters, where more than 100 small business leaders from across Chicagoland gathered to get a sneak peek at the developing small business trends for this year. The event opened with remarks from:

  • Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Steve Zandpour, Head of U.S. Specialty Sales at BMO Harris Bank, and
  • Rosa Escareno, Commissioner at the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

Zandpour then moderated a panel with two local small business owners and BMO customers — Charmaine Rickette, Owner of Uncle Remus Saucy Fried Chicken, and Julie Mizzi, President of Coordinated Systems Consulting, Inc. — as well as Stacey Pitts-Caldwell, Small Business Development Center Director at the Chicagoland Chamber. The panelists shared advice in the areas that were of most concern in the survey findings, including access to capital.

“Speed to capital is just as important as access to capital,” Zandpour acknowledged.

Rickette and Mizzi discussed finding the right talent and marketing resources. They also talked about the importance of a good banking partner for growth, and shared stories about how their relationships with BMO have helped them grow.

“BMO is the one bank that I feel comfortable with that will help me grow my business in the restaurant space,” Rickette said.

BMO offers tips and resources for small businesses on critical operational disciplines like money management – including a cash flow forecast template, a loan versus line of credit calculator and a business plan template –on our website for small business.

Last year, BMO announced a commitment to double our support of small businesses and entrepreneurs by 2025. And we are introducing programs, products and advice for small businesses throughout 2020 to address their unique needs and challenges.

To view the full survey results, click here.

To view a livestream of the panel, click here.

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