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Three ways to Engage with National Small Business Week

Des Moines National Small Business Week

April 18, 2017

Small Businesses and Startups in the U.S.

National Small Business Week is April 30 through May 6 this year. Small business is the backbone of our economy. From SBA.gov: “Small business is big! The 28 million small businesses in America account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales. Small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s. The 600,000-plus franchised small businesses in the U.S. account for 40 percent of all retail sales and provide jobs for some eight million people. The small business sector in America occupies 30 to 50 percent of all commercial space, an estimated 20 to 34 billion square feet. Furthermore, the small business sector is growing rapidly. While corporate America has been downsizing, the rate of small business startups has grown, and the rate for small business failures has declined.”

Three Ways to Engage in National Small Business Week

Commit to Look Local First

Each year, businesses and local governments in Greater Des Moines (DSM) spend more than $13.4 billion with out-of-area suppliers. Shifting just 5 percent of your business’ spending to local vendors could generate an economic impact of more than $1 billion for DSM. That’s why The Greater Des Moines Partnership created Look Local First, an initiative to promote local expertise, products and services. When we Look Local First we create jobs, improve roadways, bolster schools, develop parks, grow businesses and make DSM even greater. Make a commitment to grab lunch at a local restaurant, buy a gift at a local boutique, or commit to learning about a small business from one of our many resources, podcasts, broadcasts or publications discussing small business.

Attend First Fridays with Iowa Center for Economic Success

On the first Friday of every month, come and hear the savvy, successful business owners and entrepreneurs of DSM share their story. In a laid-back environment, you’ll catch some words of wisdom from women and men who have been through it before — and maybe walk away with a new connection (or two). Sessions are completely free and open to the public, held from Noon - 1 p.m. This May 5, 2017 First Friday will be held at Gravitate, located at 206 6th Ave., 3rd Floor. Seating is limited; first come, first served. No lunch is provided, but you can bring your own if you'd like! RSVP/Register here.

Consider attending EntreFEST

EntreFEST 2017, held May 4 and 5, is a conference is the largest gathering of Iowa's entrepreneurial and innovation community. Hosted in downtown Iowa City over the course of two days, this event targets small business owners, high-growth startup founders and their teams, executives and employees leading innovation inside existing organizations, entrepreneurs and people looking to start a business, economic community development professionals and grassroots startup community organizers focused on building a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem in their areas. EntreFEST allows attendees to network with fellow entrepreneurs and innovators and hear from their peers, pitch their ideas, meet with mentors and celebrate each other's work. Learn more at entrefest.com.

Bonus: For a great event closer to home after National Small Business Week, register for Accelerate DSM, held on May 17 at the Iowa Events Center. Hosted by Square One DSM, the event is produced in collaboration with 1 Million Cups and the Technology Association of Iowa. Accelerate DSM is an opportunity for entrepreneurs from throughout DSM to learn from each other and from experts from all parts of the startup ecosystem. 

Small businesses add to the unique fabric of our region. I hope that you find ways to celebrate and take action during National Small Business Week. 

Learn more about looking local in Des Moines at LookLocalDSM.com.