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ProfitWise News and Views, August 2013
Mapping the Recovery: Sentiment Survey of Small Business Intermediaries in Chicago

The community development and policy studies (CDPS) division of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago distributed a poll to small business intermediaries in the fourth quarter of 2012 to ask about their perceptions of small business conditions in their neighborhoods. The purpose of this poll was to get a better understanding of the small business climate in diverse neighborhoods of the city of Chicago. It was designed to capture perspectives at the neighborhood level, perspectives that are not observable in aggregated data. The results show an array of opinions about the small business climate in neighborhoods across the city, and perceptions of relative community resilience and vulnerability.

The poll focused on the pre- and post-recession experiences of businesses in order to understand the impact the recession had on city neighborhoods, and how well they have recovered. Respondents were asked about the business sentiment and factors impacting the business climate in their communities prior to the recession compared to the post-recession period. The respondents comprised nonprofit organizations that provide technical assistance to (general business advice) and links to sources of capital for small businesses, as well as local market oriented business attraction and retention services.

The poll was designed to answer two questions:

  • What are the perceptions of business conditions across Chicago neighborhoods and where has the perceived business climate improved, stayed the same or deteriorated since the recession?
  • How do characteristics of the neighborhood, or characteristics of local businesses served by the small business intermediary agency, relate to an agency’s sentiment about the business climate?


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