2021 Small Business Advocates of the Year Awards
Catalysts, Conveners, and Champions for Businesses During Pandemic
On July 22, United Paving Company presented the 2021 North Orange, Western Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties’ Economic Forecast hosted by the Brea, Corona, Chino Valley, and Yorba Linda Chambers of Commerce. The Coalition of Chambers announced two recipients for the 2021 Small Business Advocate of the Year Awards: Greater San Fernando Valley President/CEO, Nancy Hoffman Vanyek and Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber President/CEO, Patrick Ellis. Nancy and Patrick are catalyst for the business community. They convened Chamber Executives nationwide to discuss relief funding solutions for businesses affected by civil authority closures. The Save Small Business Coalition (SSBC) was formed as a result to battle severe economic hardships caused by the pandemic and now includes 200 chambers representing over 28 states.
At the very onset of the pandemic and the subsequent closures of business by the Government, members of the Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber began contacting Nancy in dismay as they found that their business interruption insurance was denied without even a simple review of the claim. Nancy immediately knew that this was not just a local problem but a problem that would be felt across the state and even the country. She quickly called a few of her best Chamber friends to find a solution to help businesses survive. Her first call was to her good friend Patrick Ellis, President/CEO of the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber, who she knew would jump into action along her side.
Nancy and Patrick were catalysts in mobilizing businesses, chambers of commerce, and business organizations to aid in the recovery of the business community. They leveraged their relationships with elected officials to address both immediate and long-term needs. Their two-prong approach focused on guidance on accepted practices to restart the local economy and the adaptation and transformation for the future stability of the workforce and business resiliency through curated industry, regional and complementary sector resources.
Nancy and Patrick are exceptional at uniting people and the business community toward a shared vision. In the face of looming business death, they convened chamber executives, first in California and then nationwide, to discuss relief funding solutions for businesses affected by civil authority closures. What emerged was the Save Small Business Coalition (SSBC), now over 200 chambers and business organizations representing 28 states, committed to the survival of a vibrant business community in the face of severe economic hardships.
Mobilizing the coalition's members, SSBC continued to transform and adapt as they sought extraordinary emergency action by the Government to empower an urgent solution that didn't exist.
As passionate leaders, their desire to create catalytic methods for business growth and sustainability drove the SSBC's successful wins:
• Finding an advocate at the state level when our first path was California-focused. California State Assemblymember, Adrin Nazarian, supported the coalition's efforts from the inception, stating that "Small business is the backbone of our economy and it is vital to rebuilding that economy once we defeat the COVID-19 virus and helped grow the coalitions support among lawmakers in California."
• Partnering with the International Council of Shopping Centers and the creation of the America's Recovery Fund Coalition. Together, the two coalitions highlighted the importance of providing relief for businesses that serve as a vital lifeline to our communities, workers, and local economies.
• The introduction of SSBC's bill, HR 7671. the Small Business Comeback Act, on Capitol Hill by Representatives Vela and Fileman.
• Establishing a one-click messaging platform that SSBC members could use to mobilize their business communities to contact their legislators to support programs that financially help businesses survive the pandemic.
• Partnering with Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, and his EMES project and his COVID collaborative.
• Collaborating with the US Chamber and coalescing around four guiding principles for Small Business relief: PPP Reform; Workforce Development; Business Liability Protection; and Local Aid (State & Local Municipalities financial support).
• The biggest win was Congress passing the relief bill, which included Workforce Development Program, Enhancing the Payroll Protection Program, and additional local aid. This was a massive win for our small businesses. The relief bill was just a piece of the puzzle, and SSBC's work continues to help businesses recover from the pandemic and beyond.
“Many small businesses in our region simply would not have survived if it weren’t for the actions taken by these leaders,” said Heidi Gallegos, President/CEO of the Brea Chamber of Commerce. “Furthermore, their strategies and actions helped spark momentum for a more equitable and inclusive economy in Southern California – one that’s based on sound policies, not politics, and that’s good for all of our small businesses.”
The Save Small Business Coalition was built on passion and desire to create, seek, and support various catalytic methods of business growth and sustainability through the pandemic. They created a grassroots movement that sought solutions for the economic recovery and business resiliency in their communities, the state, and across the nation. The Save Small Business Coalition brought together organizations across the country that share similar values, interests, and goals, allowing our coalition members to combine their resources and become more powerful than when they each act alone. Their success has helped businesses receive funding, re-open their doors, and rehire workers.