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Join the movement. Upload your logo or photo on our supporter wall here. Step 2. Let's get loud!

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Download a poster and stick on your business window - help communicate why small businesses are important to our community! You can also download an e-signature and other materials to use here. Take a photo and post on our Small Business Matters Facebook page or tweet it - and go in the draw to win a fantastic prize to be announced. Small business is at the heart of innovation and entrepreneurship. We need our next generation to be inspired to being their own boss. To create new ideas and learn how to run a business.

We have a series of arts and crafts activities on our resources page that you can download including some key but fun! It is a statewide movement. Impressive right?

Why Small Business Matters to the US [Infographic]

It's time to celebrate these things and remind ourselves to think small first. It's a great time to get involved. Think small first! On 26 October !

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Building and maintaining a sustainable local economy includes small business growth, which is hot right now. Communities across the nation continue to adapt, invent, and reinvent strategies to address economic development goals in a dynamic economy. One may ask: Why should local government managers be concerned about small business?

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In short: As the nation's economic engine, small businesses matter. According to the U. They also account for 48 percent of all employees within the private sector. Maintaining the health of small businesses, however, is a complicated issue, one that encompasses demographic shifts, youth entrepreneurial education, financing options, economic development incentives, philanthropy, and much more.

Perhaps it is a harbinger that Columbus, Ohio, has created a position just to focus on small business outreach.

Small Business Matters

The demographics. Millennials represent the largest demographic cohort of the current population in the United States according to the report "15 Economic Facts about Millennials" issued by the Council of Economic Advisers. Entrepreneurship, though, is not as high among millennials as Generation X and baby boomers. SBA notes that trends suggest entrepreneurship among millennials will remain relatively low for decades.

A critical element of the successful growth and retention of small business is ensuring that existing companies have succession plans deep in talent and resources, according to Anthony Chirchirillo, chief executive officer of Chirch Global Manufacturing, Cary, Illinois. A pipeline of talent is necessary to help sustain existing business due to retiring boomers and the larger millennial population. Educational realities. In , the organizations of Gallup and Operation HOPE created an annual index to measure student interest and aspirations in entrepreneurialism to meet future demands of competing in a global economic environment.

The index concluded that students in grades 5 to 12 aspire to be future entrepreneurs, but that there was limited education to nurture and promote entrepreneurialism. The annual index results are a call to action.

Both the public and private sectors, including local government, share responsibility in accepting this challenge to sustain and grow the economy for generations to come. Innovative models. Margarita Geleske is executive director of the nonprofit organization INCubatoredu, a community grassroots effort created specifically by entrepreneurs and small business people and is financially supported by entrepreneurs.

She explained that Barrington's community members collaborated with Barrington School District's Educational Foundation and its educators "to create a transformative year-long course for sophomores and juniors that will immerse student teams in entrepreneurship through an authentic business incubator start-up experience. Michael Miles, cofounder of INCubatoredu and a Chicago-area entrepreneur, sought a way to integrate practical, hands-on entrepreneurship training with high school education. He collaborated with teachers and entrepreneurs, and they formulated the cutting-edge curriculum that focuses on startup practices and university examples and also uses local entrepreneurs to assist in mentoring.

The curriculum was launched in Barrington High School in and is a model that can be replicated and implemented anywhere, which is critical to its success. Schools have adopted this incubator and accelerator model, which culminates in a real-world experience where teams pitch business plans and ideas to a diverse group of business experts. It was awarded seed money to pursue the team's idea of using restaurant food waste and turning it into an organic fertilizer.

The nonprofit organization scaled significantly.

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Since launching out of Barrington three years ago, INCubatoredu's curriculum was being taught to more than 2, students in 75 schools across eight states in fall It also has created entrepreneurial programs for elementary schools and is piloting an entrepreneurial program for middle schools. Two locally based foundations financially contributed to make this program a reality in McHenry County, Illinois. The Foglia Family Foundation and the Domek Foundation, established by owners of successful local companies, exemplify the importance of philanthropy in local communities seeking to foster future economic growth by investing in younger generations.

The difficult reality is that 50 percent of small businesses fail within five years according to SBA. One of the major factors in failure is financing and access to capital. Small businesses seek financing primarily to fund start-up costs, purchase inventory, and expand and increase their financial foundation. SBA also states that approximately 73 percent of small businesses used financing in the past year. Fifty-seven percent of business startups were financed using personal savings and 22 percent of small business owners used personal savings to expand their businesses.

Small businesses are critical to new job creation, accounting for SBA records show that survival rates are improving. Of the businesses that opened in , This improved from Marketplace lending or crowdfunding is becoming increasingly popular to finance small business.

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Therefore, it is incumbent upon local governments to foster business retention opportunities and assist businesses seeking financing to grow their business. Fabrik, which employs people and has been a locally based business for 35 years, contemplated relocating its existing operation, as well as expanding it, to Alabama, Indiana, or Kentucky.

Nine public-taxing entities to which Fabrik pays property taxes approved a property tax abatement using an underutilized property tax abatement and incentive program adopted by the city of McHenry. Collectively, these governmental entities and the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation worked to advocate for a tax abatement.