Op-ed OEX23-08

Op-ed by Aikta Marcoulier: Small Business Saturday: Making A Positive Impact On Your Community

After you’ve had your fill of Thanksgiving leftovers and chaotic Black Friday crowds, you may be looking for a way to change up the menu and enjoy more leisurely and memorable experiences. Small Business Saturday on November 25 is exactly what’s needed as the bustling holiday season kicks off.

Shopping and dining at small establishments not only provides customers with unique and personalized experiences but comes with the added bonus of making a positive impact on your community. For example:

  • Small businesses support your favorite causes. Children’s events, service clubs, charity auctions, community clean-ups, senior centers. Small businesses frequently provide the funds, goods, services and volunteers our communities rely on. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, on average, the median annual gift for entrepreneurs Is $3,600, which is 50% higher than non-entrepreneurs ($2,400). In addition, 66% of entrepreneurs volunteer two or more hours a month, compared with just more than half (55%) of non-entrepreneurs. 
  • Small businesses employ nearly half of all workers in the United States. Here’s the breakdown within SBA Region X of employees who support their families with paychecks and benefits from small business employers:
    • Alaska: 138,000 small businesses employ 52.3% of all workers
    • Idaho: 183,000 small businesses employ 56.3% of all workers
    • Oregon: 402,000 small businesses employ 54.5% of all workers
    • Washington: 657,000 small businesses employ 49.8% of all workers
  • Your purchase dollars stay local. What is spent at small businesses supports other local establishments as well as the local tax base. Tim Mitchell in Northwest Earth Institute's Choices for Sustainable Living states, “A dollar spent at a locally owned store is usually spent six to 15 times before it leaves the community. From $1, you create $5 to $14 in value within that community. 
  • Small businesses are the heart and soul of communities. Small business owners are committed to seeing not only their businesses, employees and customers thrive, they are also committed to helping our communities thrive.

If you see the value small businesses add to local communities, you’re not alone. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Americans agree with you. A recent Bentley University and Gallup poll asked respondents about their opinion of small businesses and a whopping 85% of Americans said that small businesses have a somewhat or extremely positive impact on people’s lives. 

Small businesses have such a significant impact on communities and our economy that the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 2011 designated the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday. Since 2015, the U.S. Small Business Administration has been a co-sponsor of this initiative, which American Express launched in 2010. Thanks to community members rallying around their friends and neighbors, more than $19.8 billion was spent at local establishments during last year’s Small Business Saturday.

Participating is easy. Simply shop at local stores, dine in neighborhood restaurants or treat the kids to a family-friendly activity. Spread the word by sharing your experiences on social media, encouraging others to support community-oriented businesses and using the hashtag #smallbizsaturday.  

To learn more about Small Business Saturday, please visit http://www.sba.gov/saturday

By participating in Small Business Saturday on November 25, you’ll enjoy connecting with others in community while making a positive impact on businesses . . . just as those businesses make a positive impact on your community.

For more information on how the SBA can assist your small business start, grow or expand, please visit www.sba.gov.

(Aikta Marcoulier oversees the SBA’s programs and services as the agency’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Northwest serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. She is also the Regional Administrator serving Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.) 


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To schedule an interview with Aikta Marcoulier or learn more about the U.S. Small Business Administration, please contact:

Silvia Klatman
Talk/text: (206) 852-7538                              

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About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov

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