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Yesterday marked the launch of this year’s National Small Business Week. For over half a century, U.S. presidents have heralded this week to recognize the importance of American small business owners and entrepreneurs. Although the term “small business” may imply a minimal impact on the economy, the phrase is somewhat misleading, as one in every two Americans either owns or works for a small business. Furthermore, small businesses create roughly two of every three American jobs.
National Small Business Week is born from the hard work of many small business owners and employees fighting for recognition, but its roots also lie in American government. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal agency, oversees the week every year. With government money and resources at hand, the SBA is often able to put together informative, fun events and conferences for small business owners and workers — and 2019 is no exception.
In fact, this year’s National Small Business Week Events kicked off even before the week formally started. On May 3, the SBA hosted a hackathon that lasted through the first day of National Small Business Week. This pre-week event choice is less random than it may seem, since the computer experts who might attend a hackathon are the forces behind many small business.
Outside such specific activities, National Small Business Week hosts no shortage of more widely appealing, accessible events. Yesterday, the SBA live-streamed its annual National Awards Ceremonies. As evening approached in Washington, D.C., the SBA presented nine awards for exceptional work, including one specific to female business owners. Another award singled out one of the nearly 28 million small businesses in this country as the very best of 2019.
Yesterday’s awards, though, don’t comprise nearly the entirety of the many presented at National Small Business Week. Today, the acting administrator of the SBA, Chris Pilkerton, will personally deem one person the National Small Business Person of the Year. Pilkerton will also present awards for exporting and subcontracting.
Also of note among the prominent events at National Small Business Week is a Twitter conversation set for May 10th. During this event, the SBA’s official Twitter will join other industry experts in offering tips to entrepreneurs on how to found and grow a small business. Those interested in participating in the Twitter event are encouraged to use the hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek.
Between the awards ceremonies, though, and the Twitter conversation comes what may now be National Small Business Week’s flagship event. Tomorrow and Wednesday, the SBA will team with the SCORE Association to host a virtual conference. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can access this conference from anywhere at all, opening National Small Business Week to those unwilling or unable to attend in-person events such as the hackathon. The conference is entirely free to anyone interested in participating, a move that reflects the SBA’s commitment to aiding small business workers of all stripes. The conference’s accessibility might not be possible without the technological advancements available in 2019, reminding people why the SBA has worked so hard for half a century to preserve the prestige of National Small Business Week.