Governor Cooper Proclaims Small Business Week In North Carolina

RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed April 28 – May 4, 2024 as Small Business Week to celebrate the impact of entrepreneurs and small businesses on North Carolina’s economy.

“It’s important to elevate and celebrate North Carolina’s one million small businesses,” said Governor Cooper. “Entrepreneurs, family-owned businesses, and start-ups are at the center of our state’s success and have contributed greatly to North Carolina being the best state for business.”

Small Business Week was established by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses across the country. The SBA defines small businesses as companies with less than 500 employees. In 2023, North Carolina’s small businesses accounted for more than 99 percent of the state’s businesses while employing 1.8 million people statewide.

“Small businesses in our state are champions of their communities as they fuel the local economies where they operate,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “With the help of nearly 45 percent of our state’s workforce, North Carolina small businesses make a significant impact on the flow of goods from the United States and into the global market.”

More than 9,600 small firms exported merchandise from North Carolina, generating $7.1 billion of the state’s exports in 2021.

North Carolina’s strategic economic development plan, First in Talent, identifies key goals to prepare North Carolina’s workforce and businesses for success, which includes bolstering small businesses with inclusive opportunities for new entrepreneurs and women- and minority-owned firms.

Governor Cooper’s budget recommends cutting unemployment insurance taxes for small businesses so that they can invest in their businesses. It also recommends investing in child care and pre-Kindergarten so that small businesses owners and employees have quality affordable options for their kids and they can focus on creating great jobs.

In recent years, special NCWorks Small Business Work-Based Learning grants awarded by the Department of Commerce to 11 local workforce development boards have supported 126 small businesses with training for over 300 individuals to date. Of the participating businesses, 37 percent are owned by a female, minority, veteran, or person with a disability, and 67 percent have under 10 employees.

The Commerce department’s One North Carolina Small Business Program awards nondilutive grants to innovative, tech-based small businesses that are applying for and/or have previously won federal research and technology awards. Since 2006, the Program has helped more than 450 businesses create and maintain more than 1,300 jobs across the state and leverage an additional $8 billion in follow-on investment. Applications for the program are currently being accepted through June 30.

Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division leads economic development initiatives and programs to support small businesses through the Appalachian Regional Commission and Main Street and Rural Planning Center. Last year, these two rural programs supported the creation or improvement of 815 of businesses throughout rural North Carolina.

Last year, North Carolina launched the Creating Outdoor Recreation Economies (CORE) program to help rural communities develop and implement asset-based economic strategies to increase tourism and encourage small business development, among other goals. Nine communities have adopted CORE strategic plans since the program began in 2023 and 15 have plans in progress.

Collaboratively, public agencies, education institutions and private-sector organizations assist small businesses with growth strategies and job creation by providing workforce training, business mentoring, financial assistance, research, technical assistance, and export services.

North Carolina provides many services to small businesses through NCWorks, community college small business centers, the N.C. Small Business and Technology Development Center, SCORE, the Veterans Business Outreach Center, the Rural Center and a toll-free information and referral service known as the Small Business Advisors hotline.

(Press Release)

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