Government Relations

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Government Relations

Since 2001, SBN has been the region’s only advocacy and membership organization for businesses committed to improving their environmental and social impact as well as their profitability. We have a storied past of policy victories and a bold vision for the road ahead.

Our Issues and Recommendations

Because of regular engagement with members, we are able to be the voice of the region’s local independent business community. We remain dedicated to our belief that a resilient and inclusive economy can be achieved through the local business community. As such, we regularly convene members to connect with elected officials and other key decision makers around solution-driven dialogue and actively provide recommendations for advancing a local economy that serves community needs and protects the environment.

Small Business

  • Recognize rights, set expectations. Adopt a list of conduct requirements for small business inspections similar to New York City’s Business Owner’s Bill of Rights. This should include a detailed description of a fair and timely appeals process for citations.
  • Improve city service portals simplify the tax process, eliminate unnecessary law and provisions and connect the small business support system.
  • Eliminate the unnecessary. Launch a comprehensive review of city ordinances with the aim of phasing out any provisions that create a cost on small businesses that is disproportionate to the benefit to public health and safety. Towards this end, SBN calls on the Mayor and City Council to convene a task force composed of small business community leaders, regulators, and elected officials to undertake a comprehensive review process and produce a report detailing concrete recommendations for legislative revisions to eliminate provisions that harm small businesses.
  • Connect the support system. Bring all funders and nonprofits supporting small businesses together to understand current areas of focus and gaps in service. Collaboration will allow for an online directory of nonprofits with detailed descriptions of the services they provide, citywide training for different segments of the business population with proven results, a single citywide calendar of events, and a comprehensive set of informational materials available in hard copy and on the City’s website.

Local Procurement

  • Prioritize local and sustainable business procurement by city government, universities, & other institutions.
  • Adopt a Green Procurement Policy that states that analysis is required on each material and service during the bid process to determine what Green options are available.
  • Focus on local and raise bidding preference for locally-owned businesses by 10% for all contracts.
  • Make procurement easier. There are a number of actions that the City of Philadelphia can take to make procurement easier for locally-owned, small businesses. These include:
    • Creating and posting a clear, user-friendly explanation of how the procurement system works for small businesses.
    • Allowing businesses to register for email notices about relevant contracting opportunities in their field.
    • Allowing businesses to submit bids and RFP responses online on a single searchable website.
    • Making payments according to contract terms.
    • Partnering with PIDC to offer small businesses gap financing to pay upfront costs to fulfill a contract with the City for between $25,000 and $75,000.
    • Increasing transparency by posting all winning bids and vendors online.

Green City, Clean Waters

  • Improve our water ways, green our city, and further the green stormwater infrastructure industry by advancing the City’s Green City, Clean Waters plan.
  • Improve coordination between city departments by aligning policy, code, and regulations across departments
  • Urge the City to commit to prioritizing the use of vegetated stormwater practices for publicly funded projects wherever possible
  • Create new tax credits for stormwater “best management practices”

Social Enterprise

  • Strengthen the partnership between the City and Certified B-Corps.
  • Double the Sustainable Business Tax Credit and apply it to profits.
  • Expand the “Jump Start” program for Certified B-Corps.

Questions?

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Accomplishments

Winter 2012

Sustainable Business Tax Credit

The Sustainable Business Tax Credit is available for the first time to sustainable businesses in the City of Philadelphia, largely due to the advocacy of SBN.

Click here to apply

Fall 2012

Benefit Corporation Legislation

SBN is a key supporter in the passing of benefit corporation legislation in the state of Pennsylvania. Member Services Manager Laila Reilly attends signing ceremony in Harrisburg with Governor Corbett.

Spring 2015

Good Economy Challenge

During the Mayoral and Council elections, SBN releases a five-pillared policy paper outlining issues and recommendations. SBN’s goal was to engage incoming leadership on key issues crucial to social equity, environmental health, and economic prosperity.

Read the Good Economy Challenge

Fall 2015

Mayor Kenney’s Transition Team

SBN is invited to participate on the Mayor’s transition team.

Winter 2016

Expanding the Sustainable Business Tax Credit

After significant advocacy by SBN, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Quiñones-Sanchez introduced two pieces of legislation proposing tax incentives for sustainable businesses. The first bill would improve the capacity of Philadelphia’s current Sustainable Business Tax Credit to fulfill its purpose of increasing the number of local sustainable businesses. The second bill would amend the Jump Start Philly program to provide a total of 36 months of BIRT tax exemption for new businesses that obtain B Corp certification.

Learn More

Apply

Spring 2016

Philadelphia Beverage Tax

SBN issues a call to action for Philadelphia’s business community to stand up for Philadelphia’s children, and invigorate our local economy in the process by supporting Mayor Kenney’s sugary beverage tax proposal.

Read Our Statement on Philadelphia’s Proposed Sugary Beverage Tax

Spring 2018

Local Procurement: An Evaluation of Barriers and Solutions from the Business Perspective

After hosting focus groups with members and policymakers, SBN pens a report highlighting how a local, value-based approach to procurement and institutional purchasing is an effective way to advance the local business community.

The goal: Assess the barriers that Philadelphia’s locally-owned businesses face in accessing contracting opportunities with local government and anchor institutions and identify capacity-building resources that could help businesses overcome those barriers

In 2017, The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) undertook research to understand how they and others could help locally owned small businesses better access work opportunities with local government and anchor institutions. The project focused on barriers faced by all locally owned small businesses with a further emphasis on understanding any additional barriers faced by WMDBE owned businesses. As a member organization supporting locally-owned businesses and with a focus on an inclusive and sustainable community, the study results documented here have a high relevance and importance to SBN members and the broader locally owned business community. Additionally, research collected from SBN’s Continuing Education Grant Program recipients was used to identify expanded ways to use micro-grants to support business capacity-building.

View the full report