Mar 30


The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) and its small business division, Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), announced five recipients of the 2020 Small Business Advocate of the Year Awards.

Speaker of the Ohio House Bob Cupp was instrumental in shepherding HB 606 into law after it had previously stalled. The law grants civil immunity to individuals, schools, health care providers, businesses and other entities from lawsuits arising from exposure, transmission or contraction of covid-19. Lawsuits are still permitted in cases where someone is spreading the virus through intentional, wanton misconduct or reckless disregard of the consequences.

State Senator Sandra Williams and State Representative Stephanie Howse were the leading sponsors of state resolutions that prioritized promoting racially equitable economic and workforce development practices. These resolutions became the basis of declaring racism a public health crisis at the local level – an action that drew support from more than 100 businesses and nonprofits in the region.

Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud, formerly the Director of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in 2020, is recognized for her leadership in approving billions in dividends to Ohio employers as part of the state’s efforts to combat covid-19’s impact on businesses. She currently serves as Ohio’s Health Department Director.

State Treasurer Robert Sprague built momentum for an initiative that called for millions in the state’s remaining federal CARES Act allocation to be used for the creation of small business grants. Numerous GCP/COSE small business members applied and were accepted for relief funding.

“Many small businesses in our region simply would not have survived if it weren’t for the actions taken by these leaders,” said Kevin Johnson, Managing Partner of NexGen Interactive, COSE Board Chair, and GCP Board Member. “Furthermore, their strategies and actions helped spark momentum for a more equitable and inclusive economy – one that’s based on sound policies, not politics, and that’s good for all of our small businesses.”

The Small Business Advocate of the Year Awards honor elected officials and recognize those who have sponsored, endorsed, supported, drafted legislation or led initiatives on behalf of small businesses throughout Ohio. The awards will be presented virtually today at COSE Day at the Capitol, an annual event that connects the small business community to elected leaders and policymakers. Taft Law is sponsoring the event this year.