Making the Policy Case for Microenterprise
SMAs must articulate and demonstrate the logic for support of microenterprise, in particular when engaging in state policy advocacy. SMAs have used a range of approaches in making the policy case for microenterprise:
- Make the case with state-funded reports on the status of microenterprise. The reports have identified the need for funding, technical assistance, targeting services to low-income clients, etc.
- Ask the microentrepreneurs to make the case through testimony at the state legislature about their experiences and successes. Almost universally, practitioners note that this is the most compelling and effective technique that they have found.
- Disseminate data about the size, outcomes, and impact of microenterprise development in the state.
- Appoint influential individuals to serve on an SMA board of directors, or build other alliances with such individuals. Identify and include corporate leaders, key former elected officials, and others with connections to state elected officials.
- Join a commission on a relevant topic to influence policy directions or change.
- Hire lobbyists to assist in building and implementing the political strategy, and to secure relationships with policymakers.
- Recognize the importance of building and maintaining high quality programs to ensure long-term political support. Many SMAs play dual roles of building program capacity and advocating for policy change.
When making the case to policymakers, SMAs should:
- Frame the issues in a compelling and consistent way.
- Develop an effective message that can be sold to both potential supporters and to the public, and a communications strategy for getting the message out.
- Be prepared with a concept already articulated and ready to go when the window of opportunity opens.