In 2019, the SBA reported that small businesses account for 44% of U.S. economic activity. Another report cites small businesses as creating two-thirds of net new jobs. Small, local businesses are big contributors to the economy. Business News Daily quoted Stephan Goetz, Ph.D., professor of agricultural and regional economics at Penn State and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, “big, non-local firms… can actually depress local economies.” As we move into the holiday season, let’s focus on why and how to support small businesses.
How to find minority-owned businesses
It’s pretty easy to find minority-owned businesses. #BlackLivesMatter brought the need to support black-owned businesses to the forefront, but women-owned businesses need just as much support as do LGBTQIA+-owned businesses.
- Search your town + [group] -owned small businesses.
- Yelp highlights black-owned businesses currently and has a feature to search for women-owned businesses.
- Do512.com has an LGBTQ+ directory for Austin and other larger cities.
- WeBuyBlack is the “Black Amazon.”
- Chez Nous is another global guide to minority-owned businesses.
- Use your Chamber of Commerce website to find local small businesses in your community.
- Ask other business owners where they shop and who they support.
4 Reasons to support small businesses
- Local small businesses keep tax dollars in your community.
- Small business owners get involved in the community, not just to create jobs and opportunities for community members. Local businesses give back to schools and non-profits and encourage tourism.
- Small businesses create infrastructure within the community, utilizing other small businesses, building an economic foundation.
- Small businesses create opportunities for people, especially women and minorities, to be their own boss and to create an income. In many communities, it’s the small businesses that create new jobs for locals.
I might be biased. I live in a rural community where local businesses are the lifeblood of the community. I see it every day. A local law firm set up the 4-H food truck in their parking lot as a fundraiser for a sheriff’s deputy who needed financial help after getting sick. It’s the local business owners that support the community center where I’m on the board. I see our local shops hiring local people who might otherwise be unemployable. The town where I live has a large population of vulnerable individuals, people with developmental or physical disabilities. The generosity of our small businesses never ceases to amaze me.
Buy local, support local
Seek out small businesses this holiday season and beyond. It’s these businesses that make up the fabric of our lives. Local businesses have given to the community for generations. Now it’s time for the community to step up and support those local businesses.