Next week is National Small Business Week.
Small businesses – those with fewer than 500 employees – account for 64 percent of new jobs and pay 44 percent of the total U.S. private payroll. In Kansas, more than 90 percent of new jobs were created by small businesses over the past two years.
There is nothing “small” about this huge economic impact.
There are three primary ways that small businesses contribute to our nation:
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▪ They give people the opportunity to achieve financial independence, encourage innovation and create employment opportunities.
▪ They give money back to their community. That revenue and the resulting tax dollars are spread around the community, enriching and supporting everyone in the process.
▪ They spark competition, drive innovation, build communities and improve the quality of life for citizens.
Wichita has always been an entrepreneurial business community with tremendous successes. Companies such as Cessna, Beech, Coleman, Pizza Hut and Rent-A-Center are some of the most widely known.
Now, thanks to the vision of key city and educational leaders, new entrepreneurs have access to mentors, laboratories and equipment, financial capital and other assistance.
It’s exciting to see the many new companies that have been formed during the past few years. It is entirely possible some of them will become nationally recognized companies.
The assistance they need to support that future growth is available to them. The Wichita Independent Business Association, in partnership with the city, offers small businesses a wide variety of assistance, from obtaining financial capital, finding additional office or warehouse space, hiring qualified employees to receiving mentoring from other business owners.
In celebration of National Small Business Week, WIBA is again sponsoring a half-day Small Business Connect on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wichita Boathouse. The event is free and includes several educational speakers as well as a business expo exhibit with more than 20 booths.
The morning will offer several short presentations. Jill Miller, owner of Creative Solutions, will speak on “Building and Maintaining a Clientele”; Jeff Lucas of High Touch will speak on cybersecurity; Sue Tirukonda of Financial Benefits will speak on employee benefits; and Whitney Craig of Polston Tax Resolution & Accounting will speak about accounting and taxes for small business.
The featured workshop by Armstrong Chamberlin Strategic Marketing, “How to Leverage Google to Grow Your Business,” will introduce tools to help promote business online, including Google Analytics and Google Apps for Work.
Look for the full schedule on our website, wiba.org, or our Facebook page.
Local food trucks including B.S. Sandwich Press, The Big Apple and The Brown Box Bakery will be outside the Boathouse from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
WIBA is proud of its 86-year history of supporting and promoting independent business. We do that by providing partnership among members, educational opportunities, political advocacy and other resources to assist business growth.
Alicia Holloway is president of the Wichita Independent Business Association. Contact her at Alicia@wiba.org.