This past week there were celebrations across the country for National Small Business Week to draw attention to the entrepreneurial spirit that still exists today despite the challenges that loom large. The week officially kicked off last Sunday at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. There were the expected speeches and of course awards for everything including: SCORE Chapter of the Year, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Excellence and Innovation Center Award, Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award, Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Year and more. Technology played a major role in connecting business owners with events streamed live every day. If you missed all the excitement you can get caught up here https://www.sba.gov/nsbw/media
In almost every state there were also celebrations. Last night I attended Michigan Celebrates Small Business. It was the 12th celebration and the focus is always on the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch. These companies are from a variety of different industries and fields and their growth is critical to the state. One thing that all of these fast growing companies have in common is that they started small and had big dreams. It was inspirational to hear the stories behind the people and the products. What is even more impressive is that unlike some awards or recognition, these companies have outstanding historical performance. They are around and flourishing long after the event. I am sure there are countless stories like the ones I heard last night across the country because small business is actually a big deal and its impact is often overlooked. Here are just a few things to note:
- Small business creates 2 out of every 3 new jobs in the U.S. each year
- Over 50% of Americans own or work for a small business.
- Women are entering the ranks of business at a record rate. According to the SBA, “Women are launching a net of more than 1,100 new businesses every single day.”
- Veterans are starting businesses to make the transition from military to civilian life and an SBA program called Boots to Business provides them assistance.
Small business is also good for employees. According to an NSBA 2015 Year-end Economic Survey, “57 percent of small firms increased employee compensation over the last 12 months—the highest this indicator has been in eight years—and 60 percent said they plan to increase wages in the coming 12 months.”
Bottom line is this. There is a lot to like about small business and chances are that you know many small business owners. So don’t wait for a celebration to thank them for what they do for your community, your state and (not to get too sappy) ultimately the country. Now that the week is over, it’s time for all of us to get back to work!