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Competing in a Changing Economy: The BNP Small Business Industry Leaders Forum

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The Partnership

June 1, 2023

The numbers tell the story. For every $1 spent at a small business, 67 cents stay in the local community. As 98% of all New York State businesses are small businesses and over 26,000 are operating in Western New York, it is impossible to overstate the importance of shopping locally. Small business owners are facing constant and complicated challenges, ranging from staffing shortages to rising costs. On May 18, the BNP convened the first Small Business Industry Leaders Forum (ILF) to explore shared strategies and to discuss how the sector can compete in a changing economy and shifting talent market.

We were joined by Ashley Ranslow, New York State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for an update on New York state legislation that impacts small business. As a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, the NFIB advocates for America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. We are proud to have NFIB as a strategic partner of the Small Business ILF and you can learn more about its extensive advocacy work here.

Small businesses are severely short-staffed, impacting hours of operation and the ability to stay open at all. The BNP’s Employ Buffalo Niagara helps employers create sustainable solutions for barriers to employment, upskilling low-wage earners and helping job seekers find success. Kenya Hobbs, BNP’s Director of Director of Community Engagement & Equity Initiatives gave the ILF a presentation on the Benefits Cliff Calculator, a free, simple tool that will do the math for you to calculate an individual’s Benefits Cliff. Learn more here.


The meeting also featured information on initiatives and organizations offering assistance to small businesses including BNP’s SizeUpWNY, the WNY Be In Business Initiative, Independent Health, the WNY Chamber Alliance, the Bonadio Group and Harris Beach, PLLC.

The Small Business ILF is one of nine created to discuss the status of business in the sector by sharing data and plans for the year and beyond. Learn more about the new BNP Industry Leaders Forum here.

Thank you to our sponsors

Presenting Sponsors

Bank On Buffalo


Supporting Sponsor


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