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It was 1963 when President Kennedy issued the first Small Business Week proclamation announcing to the nation the critical importance of local small businesses in our communities.

Here we are 56 years later celebrating National Small Business Week, and one fundamental still rings true — small business is the foundation and the backbone of our economy. That is certainly the case in Montana, where more than 118,000 small firms employ over 245,000 Montanans.

During National Small Business Week, May 5-11, the U.S. Small Business Administration shines a spotlight on our nation’s 30 million small businesses. It is a time for the small business owners and entrepreneurs in our community to come together and celebrate their accomplishments. The reality is that every week is Small Business Week across America. Small business owners are the true heroes in our communities where they pay good wages, support the local tax base and support our community organizations.

Entrepreneurship allows us to provide something of value to society while also creating a better future for ourselves and the people we love. Small business owners invest in their communities by sponsoring the local Little League teams, donating profits to the local PTA, and helping plant trees along Main Street. They invest in the future of their neighborhoods and bring people together in the communities we call home. People have this misconception that big corporations make our economy the strongest in the world. But in fact, it’s our small businesses that are the biggest engine of our economy. Small business is truly big business in America.

Small businesses continue to create two out of three net new jobs and employ half of America’s private sector workforce. They produce close to half of our nation’s goods and services and make up nearly 98 percent of all U.S. exporters. Today, we celebrate their contributions and importance.

For more than 66 years, the SBA has helped some of the most important companies in America grow from small to big: Tesla, Otterbox, Apple, Qualcomm, Fed Ex and Nike. Entrepreneurship is the greatest source of social mobility in America today.

In that same vain, the SBA was created with the mission of helping businesses start, grow, expand — or even recover in the event of a natural disaster. With 68 local SBA district offices across the country, the agency is uniquely positioned to provide personalized advice and support. The SBA is proud of its role in fostering business growth across the country.

If you own a small business, don’t miss out on the advice and services provided by the SBA and its national partners like the Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Veterans Business Outreach Centers and SCORE chapters.

For more information on the SBA’s programs and services in your community, please visit www.sba.gov and remember to follow us on Twitter @SBARockymtn.

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Dan Nordberg serves as the Small Business Administration’s Region VIII administrator based in Denver. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

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