Author: Jacki Dezelski, President and CEO of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.
As the Manatee Chamber of Commerce gears up to celebrate National Small Business Week, I am reminded of the adage “there are no small potatoes.”
In the Manatee County area, small businesses employ the majority of our workforce. Nationally, small businesses create two out of every three private-sector jobs. Truly, these statistics are “no small potatoes.”
Each year since 1963, the president of the United States has designated the first week in May as National Small Business Week. This year, the dates are April 30 to May 5, and the Manatee Chamber is planning a week full of opportunities for our community to learn more about and recognize the importance of our local small businesses.
We’ll dedicate print and social media coverage to this and host a “Small Business Night with the Marauders” on May 3 at LECOM Park.
We will also open up nominations for the 39th Annual Manatee Small Business of the Year Awards that week. Please take the time to nominate an outstanding small business for these prestigious awards.
According to the Small Business Administration, Florida has more than 2.4 million small businesses (defined as fewer than 500 employees). They account for the majority of employers in industries like real estate, manufacturing, construction, accommodation and food services, agriculture, and professional, scientific, and technical services.
As the Manatee Chamber identifies priorities, the unique needs of small businesses are always at the forefront. One of the largest committees working to deliver on the mission of our chamber is the Small Business Council. This group of business leaders focuses on bringing enhanced resources to help small business owners and their employees connect with customers, develop their skills and grow their bottom line.
The Chamber also has a CEO Roundtable program to allow business owners to network with their peers and develop a trusted “sounding board” to help them navigate the ups and downs of leading their businesses.
We have a number of other committees that are addressing issues that regularly top the list of concerns for both small and large employers, including attainable housing, transportation and workforce development.
Small businesses in particular benefit from the voice the chamber gives to the collective concerns of local businesses. When speaking with elected officials, the chamber represents 2,000 businesses with more than 68,000 employees.
As we continue our focus on creating jobs and spurring economic growth, we must consider new ways to support entrepreneurs. Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. They drive innovation and contribute to our unique culture. A wide variety of local businesses add stability and vibrancy while enhancing our quality of life.
Whether you like your potatoes baked, fried, mashed or scalloped, even the smallest ones taste delicious.