Small Biz: Not Small at 32.5 million strong

By Bill Rubin

St. Croix Economic Development Corporation Executive Director

National Small Business Week is cele

brated annually. In 2022, it’s scheduled for May 1

7 and carries the theme, Building a Better America Through Entrepreneur ship. Small businesses have faced the brink of late. Think: offshore production, then onshore, workforce shortages, aging demographics, COVID, PPP (Paycheck Protection Program), the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), rising costs, and supply chain woes.

One thing is certain. U.S. small busi

nesses possess several common threads – resiliency, ingenuity, and creativity. Maybe they were down, but they certainly weren’t out. They’ll come back even stronger from whatever brink poses a threat.

The impact of small business is easily overlooked. They enjoy strength in num


•The U.S. has 32.5 million small busi


•Small business employment includes

61.2 million people or 46.8% of U.S. em


•99.9% of all firms are considered “small;”

•The definition of “small” varies by industry type, but usually means an independ

ent busi

ness with fewer than

500 em


•62% of net new jobs are attributable to small busi

nesses; and

•39.7% of private sector payrolls are generated from small businesses Move over, the “face” of small business is changing:

•9.22% are minority owned;

•11.69% are female owned;

•3.97% are Hispanic owned;

•3.08 are African American owned;

•2.54% are Asian American owned; and

•1.76% are veteran owned In Wisconsin, there are more than

461,500 small businesses, or 99.4% of all businesses. They employ 1.3 million asso

ciates or 49% of all employees. Small businesses in Wisconsin make a global im

pact. An estimated 7,647 businesses,

85.6% of the total, exported $5.6 billion worth of goods and services in 2019.

And the beat goes on. In St. Croix County, the Census QuickFacts indicates there were slightly more than 2,300 “em

ployer establishments” in 2019. They em

ployed almost 33,000 people and reported a total annual payroll of $1.36 billion. Em ployment increased 2.3% from 2018 to

2019. The numbers of women owned and minority

owned firms are up, too.

Pierce County boasts around 790 em

ployer establishments as of 2019, employ ing over 7,220 associates and a total payroll of $254.4 million. Employment ticked

up 0.4 percent from 2018 to 2019. Minority

owned, women owned, and vet


owned firms continue to pop up, too.

In reality, Small is Big. In the classic match

up of small versus big, don’t count out David or Davida against Goliath. Quicker, nimbler, hungrier, and more eager gives the advantage to the seeming underdog called small business.

Here’s to National Small Business Week. Go Small Go!

Bill Rubin

April 26, 2022