The U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2021 National Small Business Week celebrations will officially commence next week with a three-day virtual summit. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman will kick off the national event on Monday, September 13, addressing nearly 30,000 registered participants during the educational, training, and networking event.
This year’s free event will spotlight the resilience of America’s entrepreneurs and the renewal of the small business economy as they build back better from the economic crisis brought on by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. National Small Business Week events will continue through September 15, inviting small businesses to participate in educational webinars, presentations, and conversations with Administrator Guzman and leaders from other federal agencies and industries.
President Joe Biden, in his proclamation declaring September 12-18 as National Small Business Week, stated, “The American entrepreneurial spirit is a defining quality of our Nation which time and again has lifted us to new heights and carried us through our greatest challenges. Small businesses are not only the engines of our economic progress — they are the heart and soul of our communities. During National Small Business Week, we celebrate our Nation’s small businesses — the pillars of their neighborhoods.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck last year, it posed a historic challenge to America’s small businesses. From coast to coast, in big cities, small towns, rural enclaves, and Tribal communities, small business owners and workers demonstrated remarkable courage and resilience, adapting to sudden changes in our way of life and stepping up to serve their communities. Across the country, small businesses extended helping hands to their neighbors during the pandemic’s darkest hours, all while entrepreneurs and employees worked tirelessly around the clock to keep their businesses afloat, make payroll, and ensure the safety of their teams and customers.
“To ensure that these community pillars have a fighting chance to reopen and stay open, my Administration is delivering the loans and support that our Nation’s more than 30 million small businesses and innovative startups need. The American Rescue Plan delivered billions of dollars in economic relief to millions of small businesses — including programs targeted to the hardest-hit industries such as restaurants and performing arts venues. We revamped the Paycheck Protection Program to reach our smallest businesses, with more than 95 percent of the nearly $300 billion in loans made during my Administration supporting small businesses with less than 20 employees, reaching a higher share of businesses in rural and low- or moderate-income communities than in the previous two rounds of the program. Through our Restaurant Revitalization Fund, we provided an essential lifeline to more than 100,000 businesses across the country, delivering $28.6 billion in direct support. Last week, my Administration began accepting applications for an improved COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which will put more than $150 billion in funding to work offering long-term, low-interest loans that small businesses can use to retain workers, make rent, and pay down more expensive debt. In the American Rescue Plan, we established the Community Navigator Pilot program to create a network of trusted organizations, local governments, and community champions to help underserved small businesses navigate resources at all stages of their growth.
“My Administration is also committed to nurturing small businesses that have faced historic barriers in rural and urban America, including businesses owned by veterans, women, and people of color — especially Black, Latino, and Asian American businesses. These entrepreneurs continue to face persistent barriers to the capital, markets, and networks they need to start and grow their businesses, and many were left out of early rounds of relief in the earlier days of the pandemic.
“To help ensure that small businesses in every community benefit from the Build Back Better agenda’s landmark investments in our infrastructure, we are strengthening our contracting programs for underserved small businesses. As part of this effort, I announced a government-wide goal to grow Federal contracting with small, disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent, translating into an additional $100 billion over 5 years. By ensuring that more disadvantaged small businesses can compete for and win federal contracts, we can boost job opportunities and economic prosperity in every corner of America.”
The President’s proclamation closes with “NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 12 to September 18 as National Small Business Week. I call upon all Americans to recognize the contributions of small businesses to the American economy, continue supporting them, and honor the occasion with programs and activities that highlight these important businesses.”
This year’s National Small Business Week virtual conference will offer free educational webinars, free business advice, and an opportunity to network with fellow business owners.
Registration is required; individuals interested in the conference can register here.