The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced National Small Business Week (NSBW) will take place from September 22-24. The announcement follows a previous cancellation of the planned May event over COVID-19 concerns.
National Small Business Week is an annual event celebrating the best of small businesses across America. It recognizes small business advocates for their involvement in disaster recovery, government contracting, and their support for small businesses and entrepreneurship. It is also an occasion to present SBA partners in financial and entrepreneurial development. These include the top SCORE Chapter, Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center, and Veterans Business Outreach Center.
September’s virtual NSBW will honor the nation’s small businesses including those owned by veterans, women and minorities for their achievements and dedication to their communities. The upcoming NSBW will include events such as educational panels aimed at providing retooling and innovative practices for small businesses to pivot and recover for a stronger economy. The three-day event will recognize national award winners, including the naming of this year’s National Small Business Person of the Year.
“This year, we will spotlight America’s outstanding small businesses and their stories of perseverance and their ability to pivot and overcome adversity. This event will also feature many educational forums that will inspire entrepreneurs around the country as they recover and sustain their operations”, said Jovita Carranza, SBA Administrator.
NSBW Honors the Most Enterprising
The three-day virtual event will run under the theme of ‘Recovery, Adaptation, and Innovation’. It will include events that will pay homage to America’s 30 million-plus small businesses that are central to the economy and their communities. The SBA will also use the event to recognize small businesses that have navigated the coronavirus pandemic while supporting their employees and communities.
COVID-19 remains the biggest challenge for small businesses in 2020. Because of the pandemic, businesses saw widespread closures. This was due to policy mandates, a decrease in demand, health concerns, and other factors. As a result, businesses had to cut back both on operations and staffing. This impeded their growth and in some cases their viability. Many of these closures resulted in permanent shutdowns as business owners were not able to pay ongoing expenses and survive during the shutdown.
The National Small Business Person award goes to individuals among all state small business winners. It includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. Winners of the awards receive the honor in recognition for creating jobs, driving innovation, and increasing the nation’s global competitiveness.
Support for Small Businesses during COVID-19
To help businesses mitigate the challenge posed by COVID, the federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This stimulus package provided $2 trillion by the end of March 2020 to help businesses cope. From this, $700 billion was dedicated to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) aimed at small businesses. The PPP is a forgivable loan program. It is aimed at helping business owners retain their staff by covering wages and pay for select expenses. Applicable expenses include business mortgage interest costs, business rent or lease costs, and business utility costs.
The Paycheck Protection Program also incorporates a forgiveness process. Businesses within PPP can apply for loan forgiveness if they provide proof that at least 60% of the money is used for payroll and the rest for other permitted expenses. A key requirement of the forgiveness clause is that borrowers must rehire or retain workers while maintaining salary levels.
Continuing the Tradition of Celebrating Small Businesses
Since 1963, NSBW has recognized contributions made by small businesses to the nation’s economy. The SBA uses the event to highlight the impact small business owners have by promoting entrepreneurship in America. This makes the National Small Business Week one of the most important events for recognizing the contribution of small businesses in the U.S. It is more than just a chance for entrepreneurs to meet and interact. It is also an opportunity for them to come together to jointly address the challenges they face.
The event gives no less than 10 awards to recognize individuals and businesses. This includes the National Small Business Person of the Year and the Phoenix Awards. They recognize a public official; a business owner and a volunteer whose efforts are helping businesses or communities recover successfully from a disaster. Other award categories include SBA Resource Partners; Exporter of the Year; Federal Procurement Awards; Lender of the Year; Entrepreneurial Development Awards; the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence and others.
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