Nearly half of all American workers are employed by a small business, and small businesses account for roughly 44% of all economic activity in the United States. For over 50 years, entrepreneurs and their advocates across the U.S. have recognized the vital contributions that small businesses play in the economic and employment spheres of the country by observing National Small Business Week (NSBW). This year the week starts on April 30th and will end May 5th.
NSBW was inaugurated by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. It is currently co-hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal agency, and SCORE, a nationwide network of volunteer business mentors that help small businesses to thrive.
NSBW is an occasion for numerous events geared toward small businesses. Some highlight educational programming, networking events, or means of finding resources to start and grow your business. These annual events are offered by a variety of small business advocacy organizations, both governmental and private.
Many business organizations, from the local to the federal level, have scheduled events and educational presentations in observance of NSBW 2023. Below is a short list of some not-to-miss programs taking place this week:
- April 26–May 5: The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection is hosting a series of webinars from money-saving legal tips to navigating city inspections. More information can be found here.
- April 30: America’s Future and Small Business Majority will host a roundtable discussion with legislators from across Illinois on how small business owners can advocate for their businesses and concerns. More information can be found here.
- May 1–5: America’s SBDC and Lili are offering free small business “office hours,” during which they will provide counseling and guidance. Click here to register.
- May 2–3: The SBA and SCORE will host the official NSBW Virtual Summit. The Summit is free and will provide education, resources, expert speakers, and opportunities to network. The full agenda call be found here.
- May 3: The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and its partners will host “How to Win on TikTok,” a free training on how small businesses can best increase their digital footprint and grow their audiences. More information can be found here.
Organizations to Help Your Business
Even if you cannot attend this week’s events, there are countless organizations dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small business owners navigate the world of starting a business and getting it to scale. Some of these are local, independent nonprofit agencies, while others are federal agencies with footprints across the country. No matter your business needs—finding funding programs, information on federal contracting, or guidance on hiring—you are bound to find the assistance you need with one of these partners.
- The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce provides programming, networking opportunities, and lobbying on behalf of the region’s business community.
- The Chicago Business Center Program is supported by two City of Chicago agencies and offers tailored business consulting services at no charge. There are 8 locations of the CBC Program throughout the City.
- The Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is funded in part by the federal SBA. This center offers advice to small businesses on business planning, financing, branding, government affairs, and other issues.
- 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. An independent non-profit innovation hub and accelerator, 1871 brings together founders, leaders, investors, and mentors into a single space to support new ideas and business plans.
- The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity is a state agency with a broad mandate, but it offers a small business assistance program that can help business owners with such things as forming business and marketing plans.
- Small Business Majority is a national network of more than 85,000 small businesses and 1,500 business and community organizations that offers resources to small businesses and advocates on their behalf. SBM focuses primarily on supporting America’s smallest businesses and those facing systemic barriers to inclusion.
- Venturize.org is the online resource hub of Small Business Majority. It contains information for small business owners on a variety of issues, such as funding options, retirement, and workplace benefits.
- The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is an institute of the University of Chicago. Polsky was founded to assist U of C faculty inventors, but now it also supports deep tech innovations, as well as local South and West Side community entrepreneurs and small business owners.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration is a federal agency that provides small business loans and business counseling. It also helps support many regional and local business development centers.
- SCORE is a nationwide network of business mentors who voluntarily offer to assist small businesses owners.
Prinz’s Legal Resources
The organizations above will help you with personalized advice for your business. For additional guidance, take a look at our business-related blog posts, such as those on personnel files or paid leave.
If your business needs a review of business contracts, such as operation agreements shareholder agreements, feel free to give our expert attorneys a call. We are also happy to assist your business with workplace trainings or workplace investigations.