Duluth Chamber recognizes Northland Small Businesses for National Small Business Week

The first week in May marks the start of National Small Business Week, all put together by the Small Business Administration.
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 8:19 AM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - The first week in May marks the start of National Small Business Week, all put together by the Small Business Administration.

The celebration, which runs May 1 through May 7, is an effort to recognize the work of small business owners across the United States.

According to the Small Business Administration, 99.9% of all businesses in the U.S. are considered “small,” employing 500 people or less.

The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce said around 80% of the businesses they work with have five employees or less.

“We always like to celebrate them [small businesses] all year long, of course, but particularly this week, there’s a national effort to recognize and to really support those local businesses, which in so many ways, are the backbone of our local area,” Daniel Fanning, the Vice President of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, said.

Minnesota and Wisconsin rely heavily on small businesses to keep their economies moving.

According to recent estimates fro the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, 94% of Minnesota businesses have 50 employees or less.

In Wisconsin, 97% employ 500 employees or less.

“We’re fortunate to have a really diverse economy,” Fanning said. “You think of the ports and aviation and healthcare and those are so critically important to our economy.”

But he said that those small businesses really lend a hand to bigger companies.

“At the same time, those small businesses, they’re the also the ones where those larger employers have to go to, to for the printing stuff, for the food, for the hospitality, for the hotel, all those kinds of things, all those work in tandem,” he said.

According to the Small Businesses Administration, there are 32.5 million small businesses nationwide.

They handle everything from retail, to hospitality, service and construction.

Currently, the biggest problem facing small businesses right now is a workforce shortage.

Fanning said that the chamber is trying to tackle that issue.

“We’re doing everything we can to try to retain that talent in our backyard to also recruit some additional talent to this area for workforce issue,” he said.

In Northeast Minnesota, Fanning said hospitality and tourism industries reign supreme through certain times of the year.

”In addition to all the major sectors that we’re so lucky to have, we also have this thriving hospitality sector that is also very dependent on workforce so we’re lucky to have higher education and we have those college students as well,” he said.

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