In a mere matter of weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has sent shockwaves through the small business community, turning a period of growth and prosperity into one of uncertainty and stimulus packages. In this rapidly changing environment, the Institute of Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) remains unwavering. ILSR provides important guidance and advocacy for small businesses, with messages and resources that are now more vital than ever.
ILSR is a national non-profit organization that engages in advocacy, research and organizing on behalf of independent businesses and local communities. The organization focuses on the most pressing issues challenging small businesses, local governments and their constituents. Just this year, ILSR has already published in-depth reports on community solar panels, zero-waste programs and more. ILSR has also led the small business community in its fight against Amazon, providing important research and writing on the ways that Amazon threatens independent businesses and the local economic prosperity they generate.
The work that ILSR does elevates these issues to a national conversation. ILSR highlights the stories of individual communities and businesses while connecting those stories to a broader, national context. In this way, the organization unifies independent businesses and local organizers toward a common goal.
As the coronavirus pandemic enters a new month in the United States, ILSR’s advocacy continues in a strong way. Ahead of the recent stimulus package passed by Congress, ILSR co-director Stacy Mitchell called for relief that wouldn’t burden small businesses with new or additional debt.
“Taking on a bunch of debt is not a solution,” Mitchell wrote in the American Prospect. “In fact, saddling small businesses with hefty loan payments could cripple their ability to meet future expenses, leaving them at significant risk of failure and default.”
Beyond advocacy, ILSR also provides guidance directly to independent businesses. During the pandemic, the organization offers small businesses tips for negotiating with landlords, reviewing business performance and communicating with customers. Additionally, ILSR’s Building Local Power podcast is required listening for any small business owner or advocate, during the pandemic and otherwise. Recent episodes have highlighted the impacts of coronavirus, a sustainable botanical garden in New York City and local mobility programs.
From podcasts to white papers, ILSR provides national leadership for the small business movement. This work helps shape state and federal policy and guides independent businesses coping with common challenges. To contribute to ILSR’s non-profit work, make a tax-deductible donation online or visit the ILSR website for other donation options.