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Business

National Small Business Week Gets Mixed Reviews Locally

Some say it serves as an important reminder, while others question its impact

Each year, the U.S. Small Business Association honors small businesses during National Small Business Week, but some people in Santa Barbara question its local impact.

There are more than 27 million small businesses in the United States, accounting for 60 percent to 80 percent of the new jobs created in the country, according to the SBA.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our communities,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “They create two of every three new jobs in America, spur economic growth and spark new industries across the country. We will continue to create new incentives to help small-business owners hire new workers, promote growth and do what America does best — invest in the creativity and imagination of our people.”

President Obama released a report on Monday titled “The Small Business Agenda: Growing America’s Small Businesses to Win the Future,” which highlighted tax relief, increased access to capital through the State Small Business Credit Initiative and other tools intended to support business and create jobs.

One of those initiatives included Startup America, which Obama said will strengthen access to capital and reduce barriers to growth. Another was the National Export Initiative, which strives to open markets to American businesses and support small exporters.

“We’re seeing a renewed focus these days on the success of small business in general,” said Kristen Amyx, president and CEO of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. “If people are seeing (small business) as a more acute part of the economic recovery than we used to, that’s a good thing.”

Dan Oriskovich, vice president and senior relationship manager for Chase Bank, said his company is offering small-business customers $1,000 in incentives and eCommerce solutions. He said the week serves to remind communities about the importance of supporting local businesses.

“It’s a recognition and reminder to everyone in the community to work with small businesses — buying local is important,” Oriskovich said. “We need to support the careers of friends and family and honor the mom and pop’s that provide a unique service to be recognized.”

But Brendan Huffman, executive director of the Chambers of Commerce Alliance of Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties, said this nationally sponsored week represents something different.

“There isn’t any tangible benefit for any of these business,” Huffman said. “There are always national ‘fill-in-the-blank’ months or weeks. It’s an excuse to do a press conference and for a select group to be on TV, but by the end of the day, elected officials have forgotten about the purpose. Nine times out of 10 they serve the purpose of elected officials who are in front of this type of festivity and are forgotten by the end of the week.”

The National Federation of Independent Business is sponsoring National Small Business Week, which it describes as an annual “pat on the head.”

“We’re not interested in taking away from — or adding to — the glitz and glamour surrounding this annual pat on the head called National Small Business Week,” NFID Executive Director John Kabateck said in a news release. “But we would like to remind everyone who cares about the people who employ more Americans than big business, big labor or big government, and who generate almost all new jobs, that a little more care and a lot less damage on the engine of America’s economy during the other 51 weeks would be a much bigger help to us.”

Noozhawk talked with the owners of four small businesses, ranging from restaurants to boutiques. They either said they hadn’t heard of National Small Business Week or that it had no tangible impact on their business.

“It has no effect on what we do,” said Chris Hudspith, a service provider for Santa Barbara Motorsports.

Regardless of the immediate impact, Amyx said it’s important to support small business in any form.

“We will do anything to support small businesses in hopes of benefiting the growth of the entire community,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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