This week, small businesses across the United States celebrated the diversity of their vital contributions to the American economy. Launched in 1963 during the Kennedy Administration, National Small Business Week’s mission is to acknowledge the important role small business owners and entrepreneurs play in job creation, innovation, and the financial, scientific, and technological growth of our country. President Obama issued a proclamation declaring June 17-21, 2013 as the 50th Annual Small Business Week.
This celebration, sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, with cosponsors that include Microsoft, AT&T, and Visa in 2013, features workshops, forums, and networking and mentoring events for small business owners, with this year’s major gatherings held in Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Smaller events were scheduled across the country, including local and regional awards ceremonies recognizing talented entrepreneurs, as well as meet-and-greet receptions. The National Small Business Week has named Small Business Persons of the Year in all states and territories, with a national winner announced on June 21, as well as a host of other honorees.
Highlights of 2013’s National Small Business Week have included guest appearances by industry leaders Angie Hicks (co-founder of the popular consumer review site Angie’s List), as well as Jack Dorsey (co-founder of mobile payment service provider Square), and social networking/microblogging giant Twitter, in Washington, D.C. Also speaking at an event in D.C. is Hall of Fame quarterback, author, software engineer and entrepreneur Fran Tarkenton, who, after a career with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, has founded 20 successful businesses.
Of course, in the age of social media, you don’t have to do business in one of these cities or take time out of your busy schedule to travel. It’s easy to participate in National Small Business Week from wherever you are by visiting its website, which features broadcasts of events from around the country, as well as a Twitter feed and Google+ virtual gathering. One of the best things about the digital era is the ability to network with potential new partners in your industry and independent consultants who can take your business to the next level of success without ever leaving your desk.
So now let’s hear from some of this celebration’s guests of honor: you. As a business owner, have you participated in National Small Business Week, either this year or in the past? Did you attend in person, online or both? What was the most valuable idea you walked away with, or the best new relationship you formed? Share some of your experience, and give other readers your perspective on the opportunities these events provide for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Maybe we’ll see you in 2014.