by: Brent Barnhart
It often feels that small businesses get the short end of the stick when it comes to appreciation. There’s plenty of talk amongst politicians who claim small businesses are the backbone of the country, yet their talk proves to be cheap as more and more businesses go under. Yet no politician or piece of legislation can dampen the spirits of small businesses during National Small Business Week, May 16-20th. With official ceremonies taking place in Washington, DC, National Small Business Week looks to honor the movers and shakers representing the working heart and soul of the country.
National Small Business Week represents a tradition, with the first event taking place in 1963 under President John F. Kennedy. Recognizing the special impact made by outstanding entrepreneurs and business owners, this year’s event looks to honor an estimated 27.2 million businesses. A number of awards are presented to various businesses, with honors ranging from “Small Business Lenders of the Year” to the “Entrepreneurial Development Awards.”
“Small businesses are major contributors to the strength of the American economy,” notes the SBA. “More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. They also create 60-80% of new jobs in the country. Small businesses drive innovation, create 21st century jobs and increase U.S. competitiveness.”
While National Small Business Week honors small businesses, the celebration sports some huge names in terms of sponsors. Google, Sam’s Club, AT&T and Visa are just a few names co-sponsoring the event.
Undoubtedly, the celebration and spectacle raises some speculation amongst SMBs. Shouldn’t small businesses be celebrated year-round? What does the amount of massive corporate sponsorship say about the event? Does any of the spectacle and celebration actually mean anything for small businesses facing tough times?
Of course, small businesses and the spirit of entrepreneurship should always been celebrated. The perseverance of Main Street businesses, fighting to survive the economy and doing everything they can to keep business going, is something to honor and admire.
As the country struggles, its people struggle, and small businesses bear a massive burden to keep this country moving. Events such as National Small Business Week do well to remind us exactly how many small businesses are out there and why they should be rewarded and remembered. As the week continues and eventually passes, the struggle will continue. Yet as more and more small businesses gather to get the country back on its feet, we may take comfort in the fact that we’re all in this together.