Small business is the backbone of the American economy. Every year since 1963, the President of the United States issues a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. This year small business week is May 12-16, 2014.

Organized and community celebrations

Events across the nation will take place, organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Activities will include forums and panels discussing trends in small business, business innovation, financing and growth. There are also business matchmaking events available for small business attendees. A complete list of events and cities can be found on the National Small Business Week website. In addition to SBA events, many communities are celebrating in their own way.  Activities range from the small and informal to fairly elaborate. Here is a glimpse of some of the events I discovered.

  • In Haddonfield, NJ, Small Business Week is celebrated like a holiday, according to Johnathan Grzybowski, marketing director for DinoEnterprise, a company that helps business owners get more leads and customers. “Owning a small business is extremely easy in 2014, says Grzybowski. “Anyone can own a business, but a successful business is hard to come by. During small business week, we will offer special promotions for our services. This is our way of saying thank you to everyone who believes in our services.”
  • Atlanta-based Profitability Master is producing a series of live Internet TV programs for small business owners during Small Business Week. You can register for these events on the company’s website.
  • Some business owners are doing a simple recognition of their employees and/or customers. For example, TheSquareFoot, a company that provides businesses a one-stop platform to find their ideal office space, is hosting a “pot luck” small business happy hour for all its clients and friends. And PB&J, a small boutique PR, branding and design company in Cincinnati, OH is celebrating with its team at a quiet dinner. CEO Micah Paldino explains, “The agency life is super hectic, and I need to accomplish a sense of rediscovered community with my team.”
A commitment to small businesses

Small Business Week is a personal passion of mine. In 1999, a group of small business owners and I created Small Business Week of Eastern, MO. We appointed a board of directors and created a week-long agenda of educational seminars and networking events culminating with a gala awards dinner. Yes, it was a significant amount of work, but it was a labor of love for most of us. It provided the opportunity to showcase the many contributions small business owners make to our community. Although I have long since stepped down as a leader of that group, it continues to thrive. In fact, there are more than 20 events scheduled for this year.

The bottom line — no matter how elaborate or small the celebration is, most small business owners agree: it’s nice to be recognized for their efforts. It’s the one week each year where small business gets the main stage spotlight.

How does your community or small business celebrate small business week?

Susan Wilson Solovic is an award-winning entrepreneur and journalist, author of three best-selling books, multi-media personality and contributor to ABC News and other outlets, public speaker and attorney. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.