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Saluting the Unsung Heroes of America: Small Businesses

By: Betsy Markey, Region VIII Administrator

Every year since 1963, the President has officially designated a National Small Business Week. This is a perfect time for us to renew our commitment to America’s small businesses, the backbone and foundation of the strongest, most resilient economy the world has ever known.

This year, National Small Business Week occurred May 1 – 7, 2016. The theme this year’s celebration is “Dream Big, Start Small.” Across the country, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will recognize the role small businesses play in building our communities. Small businesses today create two out of every three new private-sector jobs and employ half of the private workforce. Now, more than ever, we have an opportunity to help entrepreneurs as they continue to drive our nation’s economy forward.

For more than 225 years, American innovation has sparked ideas that have changed the course of history and improved lives for millions.  At SBA we are determined to ensure these enterprises continue to have the financial tools, resources, and expertise they need to succeed. Every day, SBA is working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.

There are thousands of great SBA small business success stories throughout my six state region.  Small firms like Montana Milling, Inc., which is a family operated, 2nd generation business that is a one-stop shop for organic and conventional grains and is the number one buyer (estimated 80%) of organics produced in Montana.  Based in Great Falls, MT, Greg Thayer, CEO continues to build upon the legacy established in 1972, by founder Eugene Thayer.  Montana Milling currently employs 35 direct employees, but indirectly employs hundreds through the Montana farms they support.  Sales have increased by over 67% from 2012 to 2014, due to Greg’s areas of focus: the market, grain positions and customer needs.  Revenues are 90% domestic and 10% export (Canada). 

Small businesses such as Montana Milling are the unsung heroes of America. Together, let’s seize the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories.


(Betsy Markey serves as the SBA’s Region VIII Administrator and is based in Denver.  She oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming)

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