Although #SmallBusinessSaturday has come and gone on our annual calendars, the mantra to “support small businesses” should remain evergreen. The simple fact is, small businesses need our support far beyond the holiday season. United States small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. They make up 99.9 percent of the economy and employ 47.5 percent of the workforce.
As a small business owner, I’ve built much of my career around serving the incredible community of entrepreneurs that drive innovation and economic progress, right here in Sioux Falls and across our nation.
These men and women are the hidden heroes of our neighborhoods, often putting everything on the line to provide the services and staples that we rely on and that make our communities unique. They carry the torch of the American dream that has been passed down by generations, fighting to defy the odds that say that just half will survive their first five years. And they depend on your support to hold on to that dream.
Here are three reasons why you should support small business:
Small business owners drive new jobs
It’s no secret that small businesses create new jobs, fuel economic growth and contribute to lowering unemployment rates. Even in today’s globalized world, America’s 30.2 million small businesses still makeup 99.9 percent of all businesses in the United States and employs 58.9 million people.
Our very own Sioux Falls sits at the top of the list, as ‘The Best Small Places For Business And Careers,’ according to Forbes. None of us should be surprised at this; Sioux Falls has an incredible workforce — we are well below the national unemployment rate at 2.3 percent and have 73.9 percent of our population who are ages 16-plus in the civilian labor force. There isn’t any reason to not keep this momentum going and drive more business and more jobs right here in Sioux Falls.
Small businesses strengthen communities
It’s not the megastores that make our community, it’s businesses like Josiah’s Coffee shop and cafe, which serves a great cup of morning joe, Roll’n Pin, which has been in business for decades, or Dakotaland Manufacturing, which remains a regional leader in metal fabrication and machining — that give our communities personality and a spot on the map. These small enterprises add diversity of industry here in Sioux Falls, enhancing our visibility to become a business and tourist destination spot — and put money back into their local economies.
Small businesses are a community-centric day, where we have the opportunity to rally around our local small companies that make our lives a little bit better. So long as the community connection created by small businesses remains strong year round, the benefits of strengthened communities will too.
Small businesses empower the next generation
Almost all of us got our start in a small business, whether it was helping out the family, working at the local movie theater, waiting tables, working in the local bank, or elsewhere. We learned the basic skills of the workforce — showing up on time, working hard, being accountable, leading others and being led — small businesses still serve this role in our community to train the next generation, offer them mentorship opportunities and ways to learn professionalism.
Things have changed a little since my first days as a neighborhood lawn mower in San Antonio, Texas. Still, today, I scout for great small businesses everywhere I go, which was why I came here to Sioux Falls. I have found that small-business owners here understand best what it takes to make an area a real community. To me and many others, that’s an important public contribution and one I hope to never live without.
Vincent Ney is the founder and president of Expansion Capital Group, a business headquartered in Sioux Falls built on serving American small businesses by providing access to capital and other resources so they can grow and achieve their definition of success.