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Fostering America’s Small Employers

Advisory Date: 
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Advisory Number: 
Contact: or 502-582-5971

Economists are recognizing the strongest three years of job creation in America since 2000, when 8.1 million jobs were added. Businesses have now added 13.7 million jobs over 69 straight months, extending the longest streak on record.

Job creation is primarily due to small businesses, which create nearly 67% of net new jobs and account for almost 50% of private nonfarm GDP. Besides being the force behind our economy, these small businesses comprise the unique fabric of our communities.

Recently, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation published a Main Street Entrepreneurship Index, comparing entrepreneurship rates among different demographic groups in all 50 states and America’s 40 largest metro hubs. If we want Main Street small businesses to flourish, we need to know where they stand. The Kauffman Index allows us to see which cities and states have fostered the right conditions for growth.

According to the Kauffman Index, small business activity is on the rise in 49 of the 50 U.S. states and 38 of the top 40 largest metropolitan areas this year. Efforts like the Kauffman Index provide a roadmap for state and local officials seeking to foster a climate for small business growth, and this information is extremely useful for small businesses. .

Other valuable takeaways in the report:

  • In 2015, the index experienced the second-largest year-over-year growth in more than two decades;
  • Businesses owned by women, minorities, and immigrants are increasing;
  • The number of small business owners with college degrees is increasing, from 34% in 1997 to 39% today;
  • Despite the dynamic leadership potential of millennials and veterans, young entrepreneurs (ages 20-34) and veteran-owned firms are actually declining.

Several specific SBA initiatives target areas of concern identified by the Kauffman Index. We launched the My Brother’s Keeper Millennials Initiative to promote youth entrepreneurship in the nation’s underserved communities. SBA is partnering with community colleges to expose young people to innovative pathways to start a business, and we are promoting a Business Smart toolkit to train nonprofits and faith-based organizations to teach financial literacy.

SBA’s Boots to Business initiative gives post-9/11 transitioning service members a tutorial on the basics of business ownership. The program is now active at more than 180 military installations worldwide, including Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell in Kentucky, and has introduced 32,000 service members and spouses to potential careers in entrepreneurship as they rejoin the civilian workforce. SBA also launched Boots to Business: Reboot to open up this innovative curriculum to veterans of every era.

SBA is partnering with cities on Startup in a Day to create an easy-to-use online tool that allows entrepreneurs to apply for all licenses and permits needed to start a business in less than 24 hours.

Working with our resource partners, such as the SBDC, SCORE and Women’s Business Center in Kentucky, SBA manages the world’s largest network of free small business advisers. We have also eliminated borrower and bank fees on small-dollar loans, so more Main Street entrepreneurs can get the working capital they need to hire and grow. Last year, SBA achieved record lending of $23.5 billion just with our flagship 7(a) loan program, and all SBA loans were up over 30% in Kentucky.

Helping more Americans start and grow Main Street businesses is a core mission of the SBA. We hope you reach out to us start and scale up your small business. Check out for SBA resources near you.