Saturday marks the end of National Small Business Week in the U.S., with the theme “Dream Big, Start Small.” More than just a celebration of America’s entrepreneurial spirit, the week is also a way to improve the operations and connectivity of small businesses. From May 1-7, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) coordinated a series of events in cities across the country, and hosted useful webinars. The latter included “The Decline of Magstripe Cards—and What That Means for Your Business,” “Cloud, Mobile, and Social: Great Apps and Services That Will Grow Your Business,” “Access to Capital and Business Loans: Best Practices,” and “Tips for Getting Your Business Financially Fit.”
The 28 million small businesses create two out of three net new U.S. jobs, produce close to half of nonfarm private GDP; and according to Fed Chair Janet Yellen, powered the nation’s recovery after the Great Recession.
More important than SBA’s publicity and promotion of initiatives are the actions it takes to help small businesses succeed. According to its website, the administration “fills gaps in the commercial lending marketplace so success in the small business sector is based on merit, not family wealth.” SBA also provides free consultation and advice to small businesses. Last but not least, it levels the playing field with big business by helping small businesses win government contracts, join corporate supply chains, and export abroad.
This support has contributed to impressive and more inclusive growth statistics for the sector. For example, in the last 18 years the number of female-owned small businesses has increased by 59%. Likewise, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel tweeted “Last year @Interior doubled our goal of contracting with women-owned #smallbiz topping $357M.”
The U.S. needs more young people starting companies, said Andrew Yang, founder and CEO of Venture for America, at the 2015 Blouin Creative Leadership Summit. Any steps to help them succeed should be applauded.