The issue: 

Small business is vital to a thriving local economy.

What we think: 

The community must invest in small business.

Tell us what you think: 

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One sector makes up 97 percent of the national economy, provides the majority of jobs in the U.S. and pays 47 percent of the nation’s payrolls.

It’s where innovation is born; where risks are taken. It’s a sector that produces 13 times the number of patents originating in other sectors of the economy.

It’s small business.

Small businesses are a vital part of the local economic ecosystem — responsible for hiring people and keeping earnings local. Unlike large chain stores or primary employers who bring money and resources from outside the community, small businesses use what’s already available here — and they grow it.

It’s vital to think local, and to buy local. Thriving small businesses pay taxes that pay for schools, roads and police protection. But they also spend their earnings here. When you shop at a small business, you are supporting not only a local Colorado Springs resident, you are also supporting other businesses frequented by its owner.

It takes more than just lip service and shopping, because not all small businesses are retail and restaurants. Many of them, in fact, are involved in cutting-edge research and development, in war-gaming and cybersecurity, in software engineering and mobile application design. They need access to capital and they need business advisers to help them be successful.

Colorado Springs is fortunate — the city is home to several entities designed to help small businesses succeed. Peak Startup specializes in the fledging tech industry and the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center has classes for those interested in small businesses, from retail to landscaping and everything in between. The Service Corps of Retired Executives provides mentorship and the new Quad Innovation Center assists college students and new grads in finding their footing as entrepreneurs.

Small businesses and startups need our support. Attend a Pitch Night to help hone the message for venture capital and angel investors. Go to 1 Million Cups to learn about the city’s success stories. Colorado Springs is a generous city and there is no shortage of ways to connect, to learn and to grow a business.

Starting Sunday, the SBDC and the Better Business Bureau launch Small Business Week, which celebrates the sector and educates those who are toiling in the trenches.

Individually, small businesses don’t pack much of a punch. They might only employ three or four people; they might only have a single employee. But together, they are the engine that keeps the economy zooming along.

That’s true in Colorado Springs; that’s true throughout the state of Colorado; and that’s true on the national level.

Government officials and elected leaders should make sure that regulations meant to keep multinational corporations in check do not adversely affect smaller counterparts that don’t have the ability to hire additional staff to deal with the new rules. Instead government should act to nurture smaller companies, making sure that they continue to be a vital, thriving part of the economy at every level.

Go to the Food Truck competition next Sunday; show up for the awards celebration on Thursday. Lend your support to businesses that are active and engaged in Colorado Springs. These are the businesses that will stay here, grow here and continue to add to the local economy for decades — but only with our support.