Open for Business

Friday marked the final day of National Small Business Week, a week dedicated to recognizing the important and critical contributions to America’s success by small business owners and entrepreneurs.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, which create about two of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

Whether it’s a young couple that started a house painting-lawn service-spray wash business and now has grown enough to hire two employees, to a locally owned pizza parlor that for decades has provided full or part-time jobs for 15 or more people, to the local paint store or auto parts store, small businesses are the institutional backbone of communities, and state and national economies.

Who at one time has not worked for a small business, maybe in the summer, when attending high school or college, and then as an adult in the work force either as an employee or ultimately an owner?

Every year since 1963, the president of the Untied States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week.

“Our small businesses represent what is best about our Nation – the idea that with determination and responsibility, anyone can build a better life for themselves and their loved ones,” states the proclamation. “This week, we recognize the role small businesses play as pillars of our communities and engines of our growing economy, and we rededicate ourselves to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit that has forged the strongest economy the world has ever known.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Alabama in 2012 had 386,661 small businesses that employed 764,207 men and women, or about half of the state’s private workforce. Virtually all firms with employees are small, making up 96.8 percent of all employers in the state. In Alabama, small businesses created 24,890 net new jobs in 2012.

“Small businesses provide the majority of jobs for Alabamians, and protecting their entrepreneurial efforts sustains job growth and is essential to Alabama’s continued economic development,” said Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary. “Small businesses from Waterloo to the Wiregrass and from Bridgeport to Bayou La Batre are the backbone of our economy.”

During National Small Business Week, the SBA has highlighted the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories, to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness, the SBA said.

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet has hosted events in Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The event concluded Friday with the recognition of national award winners and the selection of the national Small Business Person of the Year.

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