Land of 500,000 Small Businesses
Celebrating Small Business in Minnesota, April 29 – May 5
By Andy Kocemba, President and CEO of Calhoun Companies
As Minnesotans, we take immense pride in locals that make it big on a national or international scale. Whether it be actors, athletes, or politicians, we all get a warm feeling when “one of us” becomes famous. It’s no different when it comes to business. We love our Minnesota-based international corporations. There is true pride when we hear their stocks discussed on TV or see their logos plastered on race cars.
But let’s not forget the small businesses. At my company, we work with small businesses every day. I sincerely believe that although large corporations get more attention, small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy. That’s why I love events like National Small Business Week, which provide us with an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the small businesses all around us that make our lives great, whether it’s the mom and pop restaurant down the street, the family-run auto repair shop that services your car for a fair price or the local construction company that built your house.
Don’t let the label fool you. The economic impact of small businesses, defined as those with fewer than 500 employees, is anything but small. In Minnesota alone there are over 500,000 small businesses, making up more than 97% of all companies. Together, they employ 1.2 million people, nearly half of all working Minnesotans. Without small businesses, our economy simply wouldn’t function.
But what about that national attention that we Minnesotans love so dearly? Of the 8,579 companies exporting goods from Minnesota, 7,472, or 87.1 percent, are small firms. That’s a lot of businesses sharing Minnesotan expertise, craftsmanship, and ingenuity all over the world.
And who are these small business owners that we seek to celebrate and thank this Small Business Week? They are bold, willing to take risks when others go a different direction. They are true innovators, adapting to changes in the economic landscape, and developing entirely new ways to do business. They are passionate and, in their trade, because they love what they do. And they care, giving back to their communities.
This year, I hope you will help celebrate National Small Business Week, April 29 - May 5, by supporting and recognizing the local small businesses that make our community great. Call them out on social media. Support the companies by shopping there. At the very least, tell your favorite small business how much you appreciate them.
I know I will. My small business, Calhoun Companies, along with Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota and James J. Hill Center, is rolling out “Small Helps All”, a local celebration of Small Business Week. You can visit bit.ly/SmallHelpsAll to learn more and to download the “Small Helps All” logos to show your support for small business on social media, in your store, and everywhere else. And please, don’t forget to use #SmallHelpsAll.
Shop local, buy local, and now celebrate local. Happy Small Business Week, everyone!