In March of 2020, none of us could have predicted the total devastation that the pandemic would cause our small businesses. Our nation has experienced significant changes in everyday life, from social interaction to how we conduct business, especially for our country’s economic engine and the nearly 31 million small businesses that drive it.

Entrepreneurs and small-business owners are often recognized for their grit, perseverance, and jack-of-all-trades abilities to get the job done and succeed. Throughout the pandemic, these traits shined through the challenging times as businesses endured challenges and adjusted to survive. Nearly overnight, businesses had to make drastic adjustments and pivot to remain resilient. And pivot they have.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create nearly two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. In Minnesota, more than 526,000 small businesses are owned by our friends and neighbors.

In recognition of the determination our nation’s small-business owners have shown, this year’s National Small Business Week — which the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA, has celebrated annually for more than 50 years — will celebrate their strength and critical contributions to keep our nation on track.

Beginning Monday (Sept. 13) and throughout National Small Business Week, we will recognize and celebrate how small businesses navigated these challenging times while supporting their employees and communities. During a national virtual summit and a special guest panel discussion in Minnesota, the SBA will highlight small businesses that have retooled and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as they continue to pivot, recover, and build a stronger economy.

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If you own a small business or are looking to start one, you can learn more and register for these and other great free events at sba.gov/mn.

We invite everyone to join the SBA during National Small Business Week next week and support your area small businesses by shopping local and sharing words of encouragement in honor of their perseverance, ingenuity, and ongoing efforts to continue to lift our communities throughout Minnesota.

Every day, small businesses are working to grow, create 21st-century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness. And you can help. Purchasing from your local small businesses means more of your money stays in your community, supporting jobs, vibrant spaces and more.

Brian McDonald is the director in Minneapolis of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District (sba.gov/mn).