Shop small businesses during coming holiday season

Special to the GatewayDecember 18, 2013 

During the holiday season, Americans across the country have a unique opportunity to strengthen their local economies, support their communities and get great services and products by shopping small.

Shopping at small businesses, that is.

The holidays give us all the chance to reconnect with our neighbors and, whether you’re grabbing a cup of coffee from the shop around the corner or patronizing a local book store, every purchase at a small business makes a difference in your community.

America’s 28 million small businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating two out of every three net new private sector jobs, and we all have a role in helping small businesses succeed.

At the U.S. Small Business Administration, we are committed to ensuring small businesses have access to the capital, counseling and contracting opportunities they need to start and grow a business.

Since 2009, SBA has supported more than $126 billion in lending to more than 260,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country. In fiscal year 2013 alone, SBA supported more than $29 billion in loans to America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Since 2009 in the Seattle District, SBA guaranteed $2.9 billion in supported loans.

SBA also has an extensive counseling and training network of Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and SCORE volunteers, which cumulatively reach more than 1 million people each year.

In the Seattle District Office, our partners have provided counseling and training to more than 7,500 small businesses.

In addition to helping small businesses access the tools and resources that can help them take their business to the next level, SBA also encourages the federal government to shop small by overseeing its supply chain for small businesses.

Federal contracting is a win-win. The federal government gets to work with innovative small businesses — often with direct access to CEOs — and small businesses get an important source of revenue.

In fiscal year 2012, 22.25 percent of federal contracting dollars went to small businesses, up from to 21.65 percent in fiscal year 2011. And for the first time, more agencies than ever before reached or surpassed their prime contracting goals.

In Washington state, nearly $2 billion of federal contract dollars awarded went to small businesses in fiscal year 2013.

On Nov. 30, millions of Americans shopped small to celebrate Small Business Saturday. By shopping small and supporting local business during the rest of this holiday season, we can all help give millions of families the opportunity to achieve the American dream.

When small businesses succeed, we all win. At the Seattle District Office, the SBA is committed to helping small business owners do what they do best: provide exceptional products and services, and create jobs.

And American consumers have an important part to play.

Calvin W. Goings is the regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, call 206-553-7310.

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