For more than 50 years, the SBA has celebrated National Small Business Week, which recognizes and celebrates the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. This year is one unlike the half-century that has come before. As small businesses continue to play a central role in building a strong country, they must be prepared for any obstacles in the future.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create nearly two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. As part of National Small Business Week, the SBA takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others who support entrepreneurship

This year, the SBA is hosting a virtual summit Sept. 13-15, 2021. This year’s event will spotlight the resilience of America’s entrepreneurs and the renewal of the small business economy as we emerge from the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Panels include: “Getting Real about Resilience,” “Make Your Small Business More Accessible,” and “Winning in E-commerce with Email Marketing.”

America is home to more than 30 million small businesses that have persevered thanks to their perseverance, ingenuity, creativity, and for many, significant government assistance in the form of the successful PPP program.

“Over the last 16 months, we have seen the incredible determination and ingenuity of small businesses across the nation. During National Small Business Week, we will honor and celebrate their impact on our economy and strengthening of communities as we look towards recovery,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.

This year’s National Small Business Week activities will take place in a “virtual atrium” and will include numerous educational panels providing retooling and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as small businesses look to pivot and recover toward a stronger economy.

The SBA, along with its summit partner SCORE — the nation’s largest network of volunteer business expert mentors — will share important information about the many programs and services available to help businesses start and grow, build resilience and support, retain employees, discover new markets, and join key networks.

The online event will include representatives from Fortune 500 companies who will discuss their paths to success and share resources to help businesses on their entrepreneurial journey. Highlights of the summit will include virtual booths to develop one-on-one connections with public and private sector partners to create opportunities for collaboration and information-sharing in real-time. In addition, small business owners can learn more about new business strategies, meet other entrepreneurs, and talk with industry experts.

Before the pandemic, small businesses created 1.5 million jobs annually and accounted for 64% of all new jobs in the U.S., according to SEMrush. Because of COVID-19 and its economic aftermath, the economy was unable to perform as usual. Many businesses lost months of revenue and according to World Economic Forum, roughly one-third of small businesses closed. This effected not just the individual entrepreneurs, but 47.3% of the nation’s private workforce that are employed by small businesses.

Troy Binns, the head of Binns Victory Martial Arts, needed assistance not just for his business and employees, but also to sustain the community he had built for the youth of Brooklyn, New York, in his dojo. Binns says he loves martial arts because it’s more than just teaching them how to punch and kick.

“It’s about building confidence, being able to defend yourself, as well as the development of their character,” Binns said.

Promising to produce a ‘fitness environment that will be supportive, passionate, safe and full of integrity while promoting excellence and fitness’ and providing services to boost confidence, self-esteem, disciple, self-control, and self-defense for children, Binns could not complete what he loved most because of COVID-19.

“When the pandemic hit, I lost about 90% of my students, and revenue went way down,” he said. “I heard about the PPP, and I went through my payroll company, PayChex, which gave out advice and helped with the program.”

With the funding, Binns was able to continue operating a business he has had a passion for since the age of two. Open since 1976, Binns Victory Martial Arts was able to continue benefiting the youth, and Binns could continue to run the business he took over from his father in 2014.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Debbie Elder, the head of Shady Oak School in Richmond, Texas, needed funding to keep her staff and teachers employed while the state was shut down due to the pandemic. Through PPP funding, she was able to keep her staff employed and has opened up again for a new school year in better shape than she could have hoped for a year ago.

“The teachers are like my family, and I had to make really tough decisions about who I had to bring back. Thanks to PPP funding, I was able to secure the staff that I worked so hard to find,” Elder said.

Binns and Elder are among the 42% of entrepreneurs who applied for one or more PPP loans to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Fit Small Business. Small business owners applied for the following:

·        34% Paycheck Protection Program

·        16% SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

·        5% Traditional Bank Loan or Other

How the loans would be used was determined differently by small business owners:

·        75% Payroll and Staffing

·        62% Operating Expenses

·        20% Marketing and Promotion

·        20% New Equipment or Technology

In unprecedented times, the majority of small business owners endured, and many are now thriving. With the help of banks, FinTech companies, and other lenders, they secured the capital they needed to survive and are able to sustain their companies, their employees, and their communities. We celebrate them during National Small Business Week.

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