In the grand scheme of things 2016 has not been the best year for most Americans. With a contentious presidential election and the loss of several pop culture icons throughout the year, the country’s moral has admittedly seen better days. However in this great country of ours there is always plenty to be thankful for and that’s especially true for this nation’s entrepreneurs this year.

For all of the bad news that this year has brought, it’s actually ushered in quite a bit of good news for small businesses and small business owners. With that in mind here are three things that entrepreneurs have to be thankful for this holiday season:

The survival rate for small businesses is improving

There’s good reason for entrepreneurs to be optimistic about their business’s prospects as new stats show that new ventures have a better chance of survival than they did previously. Every year Kauffman releases a report looking assessing the current state of small business in America. This year the report found that 48.7% of small businesses (defined as those with less than 50 employees) made it beyond the five-year mark. Not only is that the highest figure documented in the report’s three-decade history but is also a major improvement from just five years ago when only 42.9% of businesses reached that milestone.

Entrepreneurship in the U.S. is also becoming more diverse. First, the number of minority business owners is on the rise as more than 28% of small businesses are now owned by non-whites. Furthermore one in five small businesses are owned by immigrants to this country. If there was any doubt that the American dream was alive and well, these figures alone should put that argument to rest.

Bank loan approval rates for small businesses continue to rise

Perhaps one of the reasons that small businesses are thriving is because their access to capital is improving. According to the Biz2Credit’s latest figures big banks and institutions are growing increasingly more likely to approve small business loans. In fact the year over year their approval rate has climbed from 22.8% to 23.5%. That still might sound low but thankfully there are other options including credit unions and peer to peer lenders granting capital to small businesses, allowing them to better manage their finances.


Small Business Saturday is booming

It’s now been six years since credit card company American Express first promoted the idea of a new retail holiday to follow Black Friday that was geared towards supporting local businesses, dubbing it Small Business Saturday. In 2015 consumers spent $16.2 billion at small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. With Amex currently running commercials featuring the likes of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Dax Shepard, and Ted Danson to promote the holiday, even more Americans are likely to #ShopSmall this year, making for the strongest Small Business Saturday yet.

There are a number of ways that entrepreneurs can participate in the holiday, including offering Black Friday-esque deals or just making an extra effort to reach out to their community on this special day. Additionally American Express’s website offers some customizable images you can use to promote the event on social media or in your store. Just remember that, with the increase in traffic and potential for first-time guests to walk through your door on Saturday, you’ll want to not only make a great impression but also encourage them to come back soon. This can be done by either offering a discount at a later date with purchase on Small Business Saturday or simply inviting them to sign up for your e-mail list and follow your social accounts. This way you can be sure to make the most of the holiday and gain yourself some new loyal customers.

The fact that the 2016 holiday season is just about to begin is likely reason enough for small business owners to celebrate. But there’s even more to be thankful for this year, as evidenced by the rise in small business success, the increasing approval rates of bank loans, and the boost that Small Business Saturday will likely give to a number of local retailers. So maybe 2016 isn’t so bad after all… at least if you’re an entrepreneur.