This week the U.S. government celebrates the impact of small businesses throughout the nation with National Small Business Week. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. They create two of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year—almost 59 million workers. Small businesses are crucial to the overall strength of the nation’s economy.

During National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration will recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners, awarding the 2019 Small Business Persons of the Year winners in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam for major accomplishments in entrepreneurship. In addition to these awards presented this week in Washington, livestreamed atwww.facebook.com/sbagov, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will host events both around the country and online to observe the week.

What is the SBA?

The SBA, formed in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government, exists to help entrepreneurs plan, launch, manage, and grow a small business. They offer loans, government contracts, counseling, and other types of assistance to achieve those goals.

Free Virtual Conference for small business owners

One of the special events during Small Business Week A free two-day virtual conference for any small business owner will be held Tuesday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 8 between 11 AM and 5:30 PM. The virtual conference gives participants a chance to meet other business owners and network, chat with industry experts, and discover the resources available to entrepreneurs.Register here for free.

According to the SBA, the virtual conference will include live webinars on the following topics:

·         The U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Small Business

·         Making Sense of Online Marketing: A Simple Checklist for Success

·         Mastering Control of Your Cash Flow

·         Creating Effective Online Ads

·         The Culture Imperative: Drive Growth with Customer Obsession

·         SBA Funding Programs Explained

·         How to do Business with the Federal Government

·         Disasters Happen: How to Prepare Your Business and Recover

Other Free Resources from the SBA

National Small Business Week highlights and recognizes the efforts of small businesses and their impact on our economy, but resources are available throughout the year to help entrepreneurs succeed. To contact the SBA, visit their website where you can pose general questions or access local resources.

SBA professionals can help a new business owner develop a business plan, conduct market research, improve marketing efforts, manage finances, secure a loan, learn how to apply for government contracts, prepare for emergencies, and more.

Just getting started? Check out 10 steps to start your business.