California Celebrates National Small Business Week

As the country observes National Small Business Week, the California Chamber of Commerce joins in honoring the state’s small businesses, many of which are CalChamber members.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has celebrated Small Business Week for more than 50 years to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. This year, Small Business Week applauds the resiliency and tenacity of America’s entrepreneurs, who are doing their part to power the nation’s historic economic comeback.

CalChamber members include 14,000 firms of all kinds and sizes, representing 3 million jobs—one-quarter of the state’s private sector workforce—as well as 250 affiliated local chambers of commerce and 200 trade associations. More than two-thirds of CalChamber members are small employers with 100 or fewer employees.

California is a unique landscape for small businesses due to the size of the state and the variety of industries within it. In fact, there is no sector of the California economy where small businesses are not present. Even the utility sector, which normally is thought of as exclusively for big business, has more than 2,000 active small businesses in California. The largest number of small businesses are within the professional, scientific, and technical services sectors.

The industry that is most dominated by small businesses, however, is construction, in which small businesses account for 84% of the sector, employing more than half a million employees.

California is also exceptional in that 95.7% of the more than 73,500 businesses that export are classified as small businesses. These small exporters bring in 43.2% of California’s total $152.1 billion in yearly export revenue.

In California, 4.1 million small businesses represent 99.8% of all businesses in the state and employ 7.2 million people, or 48.5% of the private workforce.  Businesses with fewer than 100 employees represent 97% of all businesses and employ nearly 36% of all workers, while businesses with fewer than 20 employees comprise more than 88% of all businesses, employing approximately 18.2% of all workers.

A study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that net job growth was strongest among businesses with fewer than 20 employees. This represents almost 200,000 net new jobs created every year by small businesses in California.

Small businesses also support California’s diverse population. Very small businesses in the state are more likely to be owned by women and nonwhite Californians than larger businesses. Women run 22% of very small businesses in California.

A January survey of CalChamber members showed that 20% are owned/co-owned by women and 35% are owned/co-owned by ethnic minorities or persons of mixed ethnicity. Moreover, 29% do business internationally.

In keeping with the Small Business Administration’s theme for Small Business Week 2022, small businesses in California and the United States have been put to the test the last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small business owners have had to endure unprecedented trials and tribulations. In fact, 44% of small businesses in California were at risk of shutting down due to the pandemic. The California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank helped to keep some of these small businesses operating during the pandemic with the help of the Disaster Relief Small Business Loan Guarantee Program. As a result of the program, small business owners reported creating or retaining more than 15,400 jobs.

The U.S. Small Business Administration kicked off National Small Business Week with a national bus tour that began in San Francisco on May 2. In conjunction with the bus tour, the Small Business Administration has been hosting a four-day virtual summit starting each day at 11 a.m. (Eastern) that offers free access to federal resources and the chance to talk with industry experts.

California small business are encouraged to participate as they play a vital role in the state and national economies. One in 10 U.S. residents lives in California, which means almost 1 in 20 people in the country are employed by a small business in California. California small businesses truly help to power the nation’s economy. To learn more and register, visit this link.