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Study: Entrepreneurship growing in Alabama

The Yellowhammer State’s economy has grown and expanded rapidly over the last few years.

And, according to a new study, a large portion of that growth is coming from small businesses – the backbone of the economy.

The study, conducted through a partnership between the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and GoDaddy, showed that small business entrepreneurship in Alabama is at a record high.

“Technology reduces the barrier of entry into entrepreneurship in the digital space,” said Dr. Nyesha Black, director of demographics for the university’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “It became increasingly important for me to quantify the impact these entrepreneurs have on Alabama’s communities and economy.”

“Through our partnership with Venture Forward by GoDaddy, I hope to attract the attention of local decision-makers willing to act and support these entrepreneurs and further the case to increase broadband access and speed across the state.”

According to Black, small businesses are the largest employers in the state.

“They drive a lot of economic activity,” she said. “They are important taxpayers. It creates jobs. It gives people the flexibility to create their own job. To pursue passions and hobbies and to drive a lot of creativity.”

“A lot of your larger businesses, they may not be based in Alabama. Some are but, for the most part, you are supporting workers in another place or a corporate environment in another place. When you’re supporting small businesses, you’re supporting your neighbors, your friends. You’re supporting your own community.”

Black also said the best way to support small businesses was by shopping local.

“I think we just can be mindful of how we use our dollars,” she said. “Especially within our own communities. You’re lending to the economic vitality of your local area. Those tax dollars are impacting the workforce in your local area. Those are the people who hire people of all ages that contribute to the local tax revenue.”

“When you think about businesses that drive foot traffic. Like your ice cream shops, your boutiques, your cobblers, your people who are into these niche services. That’s the type of economic environment that just makes the place lively.”

“We need to be more mindful how about we spend our dollars and keeping it local and contributing to the economic vitality of our communities. That’s very important.”

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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