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Honoring the nearly 900,000 small businesses operating in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed May 5 – 11, 2019 as Small Business Week in the state.

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of North Carolina’s communities, economy and future prosperity,” Gov. Cooper said. “From cutting-edge tech startups to long-established hometown businesses, small enterprises employ nearly 45 percent of our private-sector workforce.”

The governor’s proclamation coincides with the celebration of National Small Business Week by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which defines small businesses as those with fewer than 500 employees. North Carolina’s 890,398 small businesses employ 1.6 million people, just shy of 45 percent of private-sector workers.

Small businesses, which make up more than 99 percent of all businesses in the state, created nearly 51,000 net new jobs in North Carolina in 2015, according to the SBA’s latest figures. Strikingly, companies with fewer than 20 employees accounted for more than 30,000 of those new jobs.

“Growth in the number and success of even the smallest enterprises can have a significant effect on employment opportunities across the state, particularly in our small towns and rural communities,” said state Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland.

Small businesses also contribute significantly to the flow of exports from North Carolina to markets around the world. In 2015, more than 9,400 small firms exported merchandise from North Carolina, accounting for 26 percent of North Carolina’s $26.2 billion in total export of goods.

Gov. Cooper’s budget includes plans to invest in local businesses, especially in rural areas, through economic development and infrastructure. His plan includes $35 million in grants to bring broadband Internet service to areas without service or where service is below accepted minimum speeds and $2 million to offer early-stage technology development grants for small businesses to match federal awards. Read more about the governor’s plans to invest in small towns and rural communities.

Gov. Cooper is also focused on helping employers get the skilled workers they need and North Carolinians get the education and training needed for good jobs. Learn more about efforts to get NC Job Ready.

North Carolina offers diverse services to support small businesses, such as workforce training, business counseling, and financial and technical assistance. Partners delivering support include the NC Department of Commerce, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the state community colleges’ network of Small Business Centers, the Small Business and Technology Development Center, the SCORE network of volunteer business mentors, the NC Rural Center, the SBA Women’s Business Centers and the SBA Veterans Business Outreach Center.

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