Dear Editor,

Small businesses play a critical role in improving our everyday lives – creating jobs, products and services, and serving as launchpads for new industries as they scale – and the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced their importance for our communities and Main Street economies.

The pandemic also further illustrated their resilience, ability to be nimble, and determination. As President Biden stated in his November National Entrepreneurship Month proclamation, “small businesses are the engines of our economic progress — and the heart and soul of our communities.”

It’s why the U.S. Small Business Administration, the nation’s voice for the more than 32.5 million small businesses in the country, underscores the importance of shopping small during the holidays and celebrated Small Business Saturday® in full force this year to acknowledge these local heroes and their efforts to recover from nearly two years of ongoing challenges.

For more than 10 years, Small Business Saturday has been a shopping tradition after the Thanksgiving holiday – a tradition that makes an impact in our neighborhoods and supports local businesses that create two of every three jobs, boost the economy, and enliven communities.

Here in Ohio, our 982,035 small businesses employ 2.2 million workers and fund local tax bases. The 12th annual celebration held on Nov. 27 showed U.S. consumers spending $23.3 billion, up 18% from $19.8 billion in 2020.

Nov. 27 was also an increase from the $19.6 billion spent pre-pandemic in 2019. Independent retailers, restaurants and entrepreneurs are hoping this support continues throughout the holiday season and beyond. Business owners can tap the SBA for helpful advice and to prepare for the holiday season at www.sba.gov/saturday.

And, for all, while the holidays still may look different this year, I ask you to celebrate small businesses in these three ways to support these economic heroes of our Main Street economies:

1. Go on an adventure, travel outside your comfort zone – and away from your computer – to a Main Street shopping district to shop and dine small.

2. Purchase at least one item from a local small business. Get to know the owner and make your gift more meaningful by sharing their story as part of the gift you give.

3. Share your unique finds on social media and encourage others to shop small too. Your efforts will fuel small businesses even more with the desire to support your community, create jobs, and give back.

Also, encourage these entrepreneurs or those looking to start a business in 2022 to connect with their local SBA office for guidance and follow us on Twitter @SBA_Columbus for updates on SBA’s efforts to help small businesses start, grow and expand.

- Everett M. Woodel, Jr., District Director U.S. Small Business Administration Central and Southern Ohio Office

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