The Washington Post

OP-ED: Small Business Saturday: Celebrating the ‘engines of our economy’

Johns is the deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Barbara Lentz, L, of Tuscon, AZ, gets help from worker Claire McHale, front, at Home Rule, a small shop near 14th and S Streets, NW. The day after Thanksgiving, is normally the busiest shopping day of the year but small urban businesses are usually slow compared to shoppers who go to more suburban malls. (Jahi Chikwendiu/WASHINGTON POST)

 As the granddaughter of one of the first African-American contractors in the state of Indiana, I’ve seen firsthand the power of small businesses to stimulate economic development and foster opportunities for families and individuals to achieve the American dream. When we shop small, we not only get great products and services, but we support the very fabric of our local culture and create jobs for our communities.

Small businesses are engines of our economy, creating two out of every three new jobs, and today, over half of all working Americans own or work for a small business. From the neighborhood barber shop to the IT companies that keep our nation on the cutting edge, small businesses are the anchors for our communities and the cornerstones of our Nation’s potential.

 Last year, Small Business Saturday gave a boost to entrepreneurs all over the country, with more than 100 million Americans shopping at independently-owned small businesses. And this year we can do even better!

 So what can you do to participate?

●If you are a business owner, you can receive free Small Business Saturday promotional materials at You can also make sure you’re prepared for the holiday season by checking out SBA’s advice at

●If you are a customer, learn which businesses in your community are participating in Small Business Saturday at The website provides information on businesses currently registered and how you can rally your community to support the initiative.

This Saturday, members of the Obama Administration will visit shops all over the country and do their part to support small businesses. And I’ll be in the Barracks Row neighborhood at 10 AM, Saturday, November 24, 2012 to do what I can to support local businesses right here in Washington, D.C.    

Shopping small helps small businesses do what they do best: create jobs, boost local economies and ensure that we create and sustain vibrant communities for years to come.

So as you consider your holiday shopping plans this week, let’s do our part to support America’s small businesses and our local communities. Join me and the one hundred million people who were a part of Small Business Saturday last year. Let’s make this year even more successful than the last.

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