Celebrating the Boss

May 2, 2022 | Leah Driver

Have you ever read something and thought "Dang, I wish I'd written that?" Well, that's how I felt when I read the following by Geri Aglipay U.S. Small Business Administration’s Great Lakes Regional Administrator, serving Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota & Wisconsin. We're sending a huge "Thank You!" to all the small business bosses who provide important services, support their communities, and provide a whole lot of us with jobs.

For nearly 60 years, the President of the United States has proclaimed National Small Business Week recognizing the critical contributions America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners make to our nation. SBA is proud to celebrate the people who make the engine of our economy purr and frankly, the ones who create most of us our jobs. Small businesses employee almost half of the people working in the Great Lakes six-state region, so this is the one time of the year when it is safe to say, ‘let’s celebrate the boss!’

These bosses – from all backgrounds, all education levels and all walks of life – are people who make a huge difference in our communities. They fill the niches we don’t know need to be filled, like the mom in Minnesota who opened a Spanish immersion daycare where kids can learn a second or third language while it’s still easiest, or the woman in Cleveland who built a team of virtual assistants ready to take on the little things we might not have time to do. The small business owner is a boss who provides the services we take for granted, like the thriving auto detailer who bought the car wash where he served his work-release after incarceration (of which roughly 75% are jailed in America for non-violent offenses). Entrepreneurship was his opportunity for a second chance to not only create a job for himself but to create safe, judgement free spaces for those employees and his Indiana community. They feed us when we are hungry, like the chef in Wisconsin who created carry out boxes featuring fresh, local ingredients that kept the food supply chain alive during the pandemic. They sprinkle spice in our lives like the partners in Illinois with their hot sauce company. And, the small business boss manages the details of the structures we build like the engineer in Detroit who’s diverse team oversees construction projects for safe homes and buildings. These are America’s bosses who support their employees and their communities. They have taken advantage of the resources the SBA has to offer and capitalized on their investment in the American dream. I encourage you to do the same. Because no matter who you are or where you are, or where you came from, you too can be a boss.

It is not easy. It takes grit, determination and access to funding. Money does not grow on trees, so finding somewhere or someone who can help with finances is hard. In the past five years, only 44% of small business owners secured funding from a bank, and during the pandemic 58% of small businesses faced challenges accessing capital set aside by the government for COVID-19 relief. In other words, roughly half of the small business owners who need funding to grow their American dream and our communities have not received the support they need. We need to change that. A top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration and the SBA under Administrator Isabel Guzman is for our agency to break down the historic barriers that have limited access to capital – especially for women and persons of color. We are ready to level the playing field

Are you ready to be a boss and build wealth for yourself, for any workers you employ and be a key driver of support for your community? I encourage you to go for it with the help from the SBA. The theme of this year’s National Small Business Week is “Building a Better America Through Entrepreneurship.” During our SBA virtual summit at May 2 - 5 you can learn how to access critical resources, strategize sustainable concepts with small business experts, develop one-on-on connections and be inspired and motivated by bosses from everywhere and all walks of life. I encourage you to attend. I celebrate you. You are the boss.

If you're a business owner - or if you'd like to be - give us a call. We're a small business too, so we understand the challenges and opportunities you encounter every day.

The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Citizens State Bank and its affiliates, and Citizens State Bank is not responsible for and does not verify the accuracy of any information contained in this article or items hyperlinked within. This is for informational purposes and is no way intended to provide legal advice.