Celebrating Delta Small Businesses & EntrepreneursMay 03, 2016
Everyday I am reminded of the important role small businesses and entrepreneurs play in my life, my work, and the economies of the Delta region: when I am shopping for food for my kids, when I am helping a small business owner connect with a partner support organization, or encouraging a local leader to expand services for its entrepreneurs. National Small Business Week (May 1-7, 2016) is a week-long opportunity to recognize and appreciate the major contributions that entrepreneurs and small business owners make to our local, regional, and national economies. It also affords us the chance to recognize the resources and organizations that support these small businesses in their endeavors. This year's theme is "Dream Big, Start Small," and no place is this motto more evident than right here in the Delta.
In the Delta region, the value and impact of small businesses reach beyond the store’s front doors; their dreams becoming reality impact the communities where they are headquartered and the workers that they employ. SBA figures show that nationwide 67 percent of all job growth between 2009 and 2015 was created by small businesses. In our region, we know this impact to be even larger. Our 2012 Small Business Research Bulletin showed that 91 percent of the net new jobs created over the past two decades came from small businesses of nine employees or fewer.
Oftentimes, these small businesses face tedious barriers to their growth: barriers to markets, peer networks, a talented workforce, expertise and technical assistance, technology and digital connections to the global economy, and affordable capital to start and grow. In order to maintain our small businesses as a major driver of regional and local economies, we must continue to expand the services, resources, and support system available to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
On Wednesday, Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall (a small business owner himself), DRA staff, and I will be in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to highlight the work this community is doing to empower its local small business owners and entrepreneurs with a strong and supportive ecosystem. While there, we will make an important announcement of a project that will further help small business owners and entrepreneurs to access the resources they need to grow their businesses.
We will host a Twitter Town Hall at 12:30-1:00 pm on Wednesday, discussing the barriers entrepreneurs are facing in the Delta. You can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #DeltaSmallBiz. If you have questions about addressing the barriers you’re facing, we will have the talented team at Southeast Missouri State University's Institute for Regional Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IRIE) and Frank Scott, a bank executive with First Security Bank in Arkansas, with us to answer your questions on these barriers and resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
I hope you’ll join us in celebrating the small businesses and entrepreneurs that employ us, feed us, entertain us, and are the backbone of our local economies. I look forward to chatting with you Wednesday on Twitter!