Saluting the unsung heroes of America: Small businesses

Every year since 1963, the president has officially designated a National Small Business Week. This is a perfect time for us to renew our commitment to America’s small businesses, the backbone and foundation of the strongest, most resilient economy the world has ever known.

This year, National Small Business Week is from May 1–7, 2016, and the theme is “Dream Big, Start Small.” Across the country, the U.S. Small Business Administration will recognize the big impact small businesses have in building our communities. Today, they continue to drive our nation’s economy forward by creating two out of every three new private-sector jobs and employing half of the private workforce, including in the Badger State.

For more than 200 years, American innovation has sparked ideas that have changed the course of history and improved lives for millions. At the SBA, we are poised to help entrepreneurs and determined to ensure they continue to have the financial tools, resources, and expertise they need to succeed. Every day, the SBA is working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.

For example, Wisconsin’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year Mark Matthiae, who owns Crystal Finishing Systems, has used SBA’s 504 financing several times, diversifying operations, growing facilities, and increasing employment. The funding has enabled the company to leverage its development from a paint job shop to a full-service manufacturing, warehousing, and delivery firm with seven divisions in three locations: Schofield, Mosinee, and River Falls.  

Small businesses like Crystal Finishing Systems are the unsung heroes of America. Together, let’s seize the opportunity the first week of May to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and their supporters from all 50 states and U.S. territories. To find out about live-streamed events in your area and webinars available to all, visit For Wisconsin events and trainings, read the Wisconsin office’s National Small Business Week e-news.

Marianne Markowitz is U.S. Small Business Administration regional administrator for Region V, which is made up of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine – your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.