October was Women’s Small Business Month, and this month we’ll celebrate Small Business Saturday on November 25. As founder and chief inspiration officer for Awesome Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), I applaud these special opportunities to support local small business owners – and women-owned businesses, in particular.
According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), women own more than 9.4 million businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 7.9 million people and generating $1.5 trillion in sales as of 2015. That’s 31% of all privately held firms, 14% of employment and 12% of revenues.
Businesses range from One More Page Books, which President Obama famously visited on Small Business Saturday with his daughters while in office, to Chamber Best Business Award winners BbG Fitness, Clarendon Animal Care, and Design TLC, along with boutiques, restaurants, lawyers, inventors, graphic/interior/floral designers, app developers and other start-ups. Sizes range from 100+ employees to home-based solo practices and everything in between.
The annual spotlight that Women’s Small Business Month and Small Business Saturday shines on small businesses is much appreciated. While we rightfully celebrate attracting larger companies like Nestle’s to our community, it’s these small, locally owned and independent companies that give Arlington its unique personality, and make employees of the bigger companies want to live and work here.
Local women business owners, like many Chamber members, also form the backbone of our community. In addition to being busy entrepreneurs, they volunteer at their children’s schools, sit on local boards and committees, raise funds for countless good causes, and even run for political office. In addition to hiring locally, the money people spend in their shops stays in our community, unlike the money spent at large chain stores.
As the holiday season approaches, make a point of supporting local women-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday – and all year long. It’s great for business and great for Arlington.