May 27, 2015 - 9:15am

Chamber Quarterly Special Edition: President’s Corner

Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Welcome to the special edition of U.S. Chamber Quarterly, produced in conjunction with the 2015 America’s Small Business Summit. These are interesting and challenging times for all businesses, and new research by analysts at Gallup uncovers some troubling trends about entrepreneurship in America. For the first time in 35 years, more American businesses are being shuttered than started. The United States has slipped to 12th place among developed nations for business creation.

It’s tempting to be discouraged by such grim statistics. But at the U.S. Chamber we know that across the country small businesses of every kind—from scrappy startups to multigenerational Main Street fixtures—are overcoming obstacles and sometimes long odds to survive and thrive in a challenging environment. They are pushing back against headwinds like higher taxes, stricter regulations, and greater uncertainty, and they are emerging stronger than ever—putting people to work and making positive contributions to their economies and communities.

The DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Awards program, sponsored by Sam’s Club, recognizes those businesses and celebrates their accomplishments. The Blue Ribbon Award winners and the regional finalists spotlighted over the next week are proof that the American Dream is indeed alive and well. They also provide an example and an inspiration that others may need to turn a struggling business around or to take a leap and start a new one.With these successful small businesses as partners, the Chamber is working to reverse the trend in small business creation, fight back against the policies that make it harder to start and sustain a company, and help Americans put their dreams and ideas to work in our economy.


Raj Thakkar is the founder and CEO of Charter School Business Management in New York. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Eastern Regional Finalist: Charter School Business Management


Capannari Ice Cream President Katie Dolan Dix, shown with brother-in-law and vice president/master chef Jim Capannari, credits teamwork for the company’s success. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Great Lakes Regional Finalist: Capannari Ice Cream


Melissa Brinkman, Custom Alarm’s CEO, has the company positioned for the future while carrying on the tradition established by her father, Leigh Johnson. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Midwest Regional Finalist: Custom Alarm


At the age of 25, Michael Francis left his engineering career path to chase his dream. 'I love making beer,' says the founder of Payette Brewing Company. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Northwest Regional Finalist: Payette Brewing Company


Andrew Kratz, left, and Joel Graybeal, managing partners of Triangle Rock Club, have grown a community built around their passion: rock climbing. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Southeastern Regional Finalist: Triangle Rock Club


Steve Beckley, the owner of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, says that 'after exploring the cave that first time, I knew that sharing it with more people had become my dream.' Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Southwest & South Central Regional Finalist: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park


The community 'is where our talent comes from, it’s where our clients come from, and it’s where our brand messages get carried. It’s the most important part of our business,' says Jarrod Lopiccolo, the CEO of Noble Studios. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S.

Western Regional Finalist: Noble Studios


About the Author

About the Author

Thomas J. Donohue
Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Thomas J. Donohue is advisor and former chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.