'Shop Small' and support local businesses

The national holiday shopping tradition known as Small Business Saturday was put on the calendar between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2010 to support smaller, local entrepreneurs, retailers, service providers, restaurants and other companies — even local online retailers — as a way of strengthening the larger community.

Founded by American Express in 2010 and officially cosponsored by the Small Business Administration since 2015, Small Business Saturday has become an important part of how many small businesses launch their busiest shopping season. Celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday allows consumers to make a tremendous impact in their communities by supporting a local small business. A recent survey conducted by Dimensional Research found that 91% of consumers prefer to support small businesses when it is convenient and 74% actively look for ways to support small businesses even if it’s not convenient.

Small businesses are the engine of our national economy. Today, there are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States. About half of all American workers are either employed by a small business or own a small business. And two out of three new jobs are created by small business. This year, Small Business Saturday will be held on Nov. 30 and the movement is set to build on last year’s success and rally even more communities to come together in support of all small businesses. Each year, we encourage independent businesses to leverage Small Business Saturday to help drive more traffic to their businesses — whether it’s through their doors or to their e-commerce site during the holiday shopping season. Last year, thousands of communities in all 50 states — as well as U.S. territories and Washington DC — rallied their friends and neighbors to celebrate the day, and more than 100 million Americans shopped and dined small at independent businesses on Small Business Saturday.

Whether you are planning on starting a business or growing an existing one, your local U.S. Small Business Administration can help. As an independent federal agency supporting the voice of the small business communities, we can help you with quality small business training and counseling, funding, government contracting, small business certification, surety bonds, international trade, and low interest federal disaster loans. On the auspicious occasion of the Small Business Saturday this year, I encourage local small business owners to consider business growth through federal contracting opportunities and request local consumers to help independently owned local small businesses by buying local! Where will you shop during this year’s Small Business Saturday?

Jon Malcolm Richards is the Kansas City District director of the Small Business Administration. The Kansas City District SBA Office serves 61 counties in western Missouri, including Clay County, and 28 in eastern Kansas and oversees a branch office in Springfield, Missouri. The office serves a population of more than 4 million people with its nearly 350,000 small businesses. Small businesses represent nearly 97% of all businesses in the district.

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