Celebrate Small Business Week

National Small Business Week 2015 is still going strong, and there are more ways than ever to get involved through live events, webinars, social media, and livestreaming. Every year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) launches a series of events and promotions to spread the word about the positive impact of small businesses across the country. This year’s theme is “Dream Big, Start Small,” emphasizing the growth and innovation that has launched many small businesses to success.

The first National Small Business Week was declared in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, and every president since has designated one week per year to recognize entrepreneurship in the United States. Events have been hosted throughout the week in Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York City, and Washington D.C., featuring guest speakers, panel discussions, and networking.

As part of the annual festivities, the SBA also selects one “Small Business Person of the Year,” who has been nominated by their peers and chosen from an exclusive group of business owners. Nominees are evaluated by how long their business has been operating, growth in revenue and employees, and community involvement. One small business owner is selected from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the group is narrowed down to six finalists. On Friday, May 8th, the winner will be announced at an SBA event hosted at the White House.

Even though the festivities are almost over, there is still time to get involved! The official hashtag of National Small Business Week is #DreamSmallBiz, so check out what people are saying and use the hashtag in your own posts. The SBA also provides a free social media guide as a reference for suggested social media posts so you can simply copy and paste them into each social network.

In addition, here are some stats!

More than half of Americans own or work for a small business.

Small businesses create about 2 of every 3 new jobs in the U.S.

Businesses with 20 or fewer employees make up nearly 90% of U.S. employer firms.

There are nearly 543,000 new businesses started every month.

In the U.S., you can start a business in as little as 5 days!

In recent years, businesses with 20-499 employees have seen the most job creation.

Small businesses produce over 15 times more patents per employee than large firms.

(Stats via GoSmallBiz, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and SBA)

It’s evident that small businesses are essential to our economic success, employing millions of people and bringing money to cities large and small across the country. Small businesses are often built on new, innovative ideas that can transform the landscape of their industry. And luckily, the government and consumers alike are acknowledging this trend, with special tax incentives, funding, and a spirit to support local entrepreneurs.

As a small business itself, Mainstreethost’s foundation was built by striving to help other small businesses succeed; small business values are at the heart of everything we do. For some entrepreneurs, though, marketing might seem very intimidating. How are small businesses supposed to keep up with the likes of Apple and Nike? It’s not about “keeping pace” with these corporate giants, but rather focusing on the elements of your business that make you unique.

Has your business been passed down through several generations of your family? Do you know your customers by name? What types of community projects do you get involved in? These are all aspects of a business that consumers love to hear about! Supporting local communities is something many of us value and take into consideration when making purchase decisions, so it’s important to capitalize on that this week and every week.

For small business owners, National Small Business Week is a time to come together with colleagues to share your stories, recognize achievements, and encourage communities to support local businesses. As individuals, it’s a time to show support for small businesses and learn about the impact they have on our economy. There is still time to participate in webinars, live events, and social media conversations, so take a little time out of your day to acknowledge the success of millions of small businesses around the country and spread the word!

Read more: