Will You Join Us to Support PA Small Businesses?

SBDC Small Biz Event

It is my honor to post the first entry in DCED’s new blog, #PAProud. This brand new communication channel presents an opportunity for our team to share timely, relevant information with you on all topics related to community and economic development in Pennsylvania. Here you will find information on upcoming initiatives, trends, PA industries, and events. This blog will also be a forum for you to hear the latest news directly from the DCED experts and leadership you work with every day.

Our first “blog-worthy” event is the inaugural PA Small Business Week, which will be held from May 1–7, 2016. For the first time ever, DCED will be coordinating outreach, events, and trainings with our partners across the state to align with the National Small Business Week activities sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). We will be making the most of this occasion to showcase our small businesses and entrepreneurs, and highlight the networks and resources available to support them. This will be a platform for us to share the importance and impact of small businesses across our state, and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit found in every Pennsylvania community.

From family-owned restaurants, to small retail stores, to local manufacturers, healthcare providers, construction companies, and professional service providers, our small businesses have a significant impact on the daily lives of our citizens. Small businesses contribute to the strength of our local communities and economies, but many may not realize the collective influence they have on Pennsylvania as a whole.

On a statewide level, Pennsylvania has nearly 1 million small businesses which employ 2.4 million individuals. That is almost half of our private workforce. Following the standards used by the SBA, 98.2 percent of all employers in the state qualify as small businesses. In the third quarter of 2015, our small business sector grew faster (2.5 percent) than the U.S. national average (1.9 percent). Statistics show that the top industries for small businesses in Pennsylvania include professional and other services, retail, construction, health care and social assistance, and food services. We are proud of both our industry diversity and the diversity of our entrepreneurs. Between 2007 and 2012, Pennsylvania saw minority ownership of small businesses increase by 36.7 percent. The 2014 American Community Survey (ACS) estimates that in Pennsylvania 9.9 percent of veterans, 5.3 percent of women, and 5.2 percent of minorities are self-employed.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs are in every corner of our state. As community and economic developers, this means that we must provide support and resources to sustain our small business community and help our would-be entrepreneurs achieve their dreams of owning a business.

I encourage you to visit our page dedicated to all things PA Small Business at www.newPA.com/PASmallBiz to learn more about what DCED and our partners are doing for the first week in May and to sign up for more information about our ongoing small business initiatives. Sharing the news about PA Small Business week with your networks and joining our outreach campaign on social media (@newPAnews #PASmallBiz16 #PAProud) are great ways to give back to the small business community that has already given us so much.