We need to celebrate small business 

Small businesses are key to the economic health of San Francisco, California and our nation. Their entrepreneurship fuels the innovation economy. Their agility spurs creativity across industries. And their uniqueness truly shapes the character of our communities.

San Francisco is fortunate to have so many small businesses. These employers provide jobs to 283,000 people, approximately half of San Francisco’s entire workforce. No matter how you measure it, these businesses, with less than 100 employees, are the backbone of the local economy.

As the economy continues to grow, the outlook is improving for small businesses. Increased consumer spending is giving a boost to businesses nationwide. A record number of tourists are providing additional growth in the Bay Area. Local efforts, such as Mayor Ed Lee’s Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative and the Chamber of Commerce-supported recapitalization the San Francisco Small Business Revolving Loan Fund are bringing new resources to San Francisco’s commercial corridors. Wells Fargo, Bank of America and others are also playing a role in providing more lending to small businesses.

However, challenges remain for many local merchants and startups. A recent survey found that 79 percent of American small businesses still think the economy is on the wrong track. Access to capital, the skilled worker shortage, and uncertainty surrounding future taxes and health care obligations are just a few concerns currently on the minds of small businesses.

This month, San Francisco will celebrate the contributions of small business and spotlight the many resources available to help overcome obstacles and thrive in the global economy. The Chamber is proud to kick off these festivities Monday with the Business Showcase, the Chamber’s largest annual networking event spotlighting more than 150 local businesses, restaurants and creative companies. Local emerging manufacturers will open up their factories and show off their wares during SF Made Week, which runs from Monday through May 12. Capping off the celebrations, San Francisco Small Business Week will connect more than 4,000 local small businesses at workshops, seminars and celebrations across The City from May 13 through May 18.

The Chamber takes pride in recognizing the small business job creators in San Francisco and across our nation. We salute the entrepreneurialism and perseverance of these small businesses and pledge our continued support in helping to create a vibrant climate in which small businesses can thrive. We encourage everyone to join the many festivities planned during the month of May and join us in celebrating the small businesses that are shaping our communities.

Bob Linscheid is president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

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