The Small Business Majority Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) business advocacy organization aligned with progressive interests. To date its primary project has been the promotion of Obamacare. Based in California, though operating throughout the country, its founder and CEO is John Arensmeyer.
Small Business Majority was founded in 2004 by e-commerce businessman John Arensmeyer. In an interview with the New York Times, he described the motive behind the organization: “We really felt there needed to be a more sort of measured, pragmatic voice that was not ideological in the public policy discussions around small-business issues.”
In practice, Arensmeyer’s vision of “not ideological” meant liberal and “public policy discussions” meant primarily government-run healthcare policy. Arensmeyer is a Democrat and is a board member of the Bay Area Democrats. He has given money to numerous Democratic Party candidates for federal elections, including former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Ami Bera (D-California). In addition to Arensmeyer, the Small Business Majority board includes Kip Howard, a retired entrepreneur; Kenneth Henderson, a partner at Bryan Cave LLP; Celia Canfield, founder and CEO of Green Energy Agents; and LaJuanna Russell of Business Management Associates, Inc.
Small Business Majority is not member-based and thus not member-supported. It is principally financed by external grants from liberal foundations, not small businesses. Foundations that support Small Business Majority include the Bauman Foundation, the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the New York State Health Foundation, and the California Endowment.
The New York Times’ “Agenda” characterized the Small Business Majority as the only business advocacy organization whose research found support for the “pay-or-play” policies of the Affordable Care Act’s mandates in 2009. Small Business Majority released a number of state polls it claimed demonstrated that the majority of small businesses supported such mandates, which conflicted with the position of more mainstream business groups.
In the lead up to the passage of Obamacare, the organization also joined the labor union-led Health Care for America Now (HCAN) campaign. In addition to health care, Small Business Majority lists a number of other research and policy focuses, including tax policy, “Access to Capital,” infrastructure and economic development, workforce and retirement issues, “Entrepreneurship & Freelance Economy,” immigration, and a “Clean Energy Economy.”  In 2015, SBM launched two informational initiatives focused on small business acess to capital, the “Access to Capital Resource Portal” and “Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights.”