BMO Small Business Outlook Survey event

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


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.



Related Insights



People at work outside BMO Thought Leaders share ideas with World Economic Forum through #fairerworld campaign
Corporate social responsibility

Ahead of this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, the organizers invited attendees and the global community to have their say on a number of significant challenges that would form some of the main discussion points for the conference. By submitting a user-generated video clip, participants and members of the public could give their […]

solar panels BMO Recognized by CDP for Action on Environmental Sustainability
Environmental stewardship

BMO was recently recognized by the CDP (formerly called the Carbon Disclosure Project) for its strong actions and transparency in the areas of climate change governance, climate change risk management, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. The CDP, a not-for-profit charity, provides a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their […]

New Edition of BMO’s Sustainability Leaders Podcast
Corporate social responsibility

In the most recent edition of the podcast, just posted, the hosts welcome Matthew Welch, President of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). The SASB has created a sustainability disclosure framework focused on financial materiality, and the podcast will cover its details, how it differs from other existing frameworks, why financial materiality is so important, […]