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Women's Voices Magazine - Washington Watch - December 2013

posted Dec 10, 2013, 11:59 AM by Ann Sullivan   [ updated Apr 22, 2014, 10:30 AM ]
Support Small Business with Your Holiday Shopping
By Ann Sullivan

We hope you went shopping at one of the more than 7.8 million women-owned businesses after you had your fair share of turkey and stuffing this Thanksgiving.  Small Business Saturday, which fell on November 30 this year, is a day dedicated to supporting our country’s small businesses.

Small Business Saturday, which was launched in 2010 by American Express in partnership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), encourages consumers to shop at locally owned small businesses during the largest shopping weekend of the year.

Last year, more than 350 small business advocacy groups and 155 corporations, including Facebook, FedEx, Twitter, and Clear Channel came together to promote Small Business Saturday.  And it worked.

Millions of Americans shopped at their neighborhood small businesses, spending $5.5 billion in one day.  Even President Obama went shopping at a local bookstore on last year’s Small Business Saturday.

But why shop at a small business, you ask?  Last month, before a packed house on Capitol Hill, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), released “Bigger Than You Think: The Economic Impact of Microbusiness In The United States,” the latest in a series of reports AEO has released over the last couple of years.

As the report shows, while the nation’s smallest businesses, known as microbusinesses which have five or fewer employees, are small in scale, their impact is significant: there are 26 million microbusinesses in the United States.  Nearly nine in ten women-owned businesses in the country are microbusinesses.

These microbusinesses are the engine of our nation’s economy – and with the right mix of tools and support, their impact could be greater.  In fact, if just one in three main street microbusinesses hired a single employee, the United States would be at full employment.

This is only part of the picture.  Not only do these businesses create jobs, they serve as a pathway to upward mobility and poverty alleviation, especially for women.  AEO’s research shows that the median net worth of business owners is almost two and a half times greater than that of non-business owners, for an African-American woman, the difference is more than ten-fold.

Put another way, female-headed households, in which at least one person owned a microbusiness, generated between $8,000 and $13,000 in additional household income.

If you still have last minute holiday shopping to do, check out the list of businesses in your neighborhood on Small Business Saturday’s Facebook page.   America’s main street businesses need your support this holiday season.

Happy Holidays!

Note: This article originally appeared in the December issue of Women's Voices Magazine, where Ann is a regular contributor.