What is a small business? This can seem like a straightforward question. It’s that mom-and-pop shop down the street from my house I have been going to for years. But to better study and understand small businesses, which is what we do at ECEDC, it is important to use a consistent description of what a small business is.
The SBA (Small Business Administration) stipulates that a small business is measured by two key factors, the number of employees, and its’ annual gross receipts. However, the definition of small is different for every industry. To better help us understand what we are referencing when citing data, we will use this general rule for classifying what is a small business. We will say that a firm with fewer than 500 employees is considered a small business. Now let’s look at the data.
The SBA reported in 2021 that there are 32.5 million small businesses in the United States. Of these companies, 1.5 million jobs are created annually. This makes up 64% of new job growth created in the United States. Lastly, 49.2% of our nation’s workforce is employed by small businesses. By fostering an environment where new and small businesses can succeed, communities will experience greater job creation.
In my work as Business Development Coordinator, we hear all the time how great it would be to bring new companies to our community and the new jobs it would create. But the data doesn’t back up that claim. Supporting local businesses with their current challenges and assisting them in their expansion plans leads to far more job creation than constantly searching for a new business to open their doors in our community. This, along with a pipeline of entrepreneurs, coming up with innovative ideas and creating new jobs is still the best recipe to create a growing local economy. As I continue to support existing businesses with their challenges and opportunities, it is now the time to introduce RISE, our new and small business program.
RISE stands for Regional Incubator for Sustainability and Growth. Essentially, RISE assists new and small businesses across the business continuum from laying out plans from the startup stage to tackling growth. Through RISE, individuals can connect with experienced advisors and receive one on one counseling to overcome challenges and achieve their goals. RISE is headed up by Alissa Fisher. She brings an abundance of knowledge with her background in organizational management.
We at ECEDC see the importance of small businesses in our community and will continue to provide the support they need to be successful in Erie County. To learn more, contact our office and contact Alissa or myself to assist you in the development of your business.
Nico Samaniego, Business Development Coordinator