Running your own business can mean a lot of time on your own, in the trenches, building your company brick by brick, pushing the gears forward inch by inch. Next week, however, there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs to step back from the daily grind, connect with one another and be inspired.
That’s because the week of May 4 through May 8 is National Small Business Week (NSBW).
Organized by the Small Business Administration, this is the 52nd year in a row that the president of the United States has declared one week per year the official celebration of the Main Street entrepreneur.
“National Small Business Week is a chance to honor our nation’s 28 million small businesses and renew our commitment to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit that is central to the American experience,” says SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, in a statement.
As part of the annual celebration, the SBA picks one Small Business Person of the Year who most exemplifies the determination and spirit of the small-business owner. Applicants for the honor have to be nominated -- either by a business organization, professional trade group, another business owner, or themselves -- and then they are then put through a tiered review process. Nominees are selected for their longevity, ability to withstand adversity, growth in employee headcount and contributions to the community.
One small-business owner is selected from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. From that pool a group of six finalists is selected. This year’s finalist group will attend an event at the White House where one winner will be announced on Friday, May 8. Entrepreneur has been in touch with each finalists; all next week, we will be rolling out best advice, lessons and insider tips for entrepreneurs from these leading business owners.
Until then, here are three other things you should know about National Small Business Week:
The SBA Administrator will travel the country in a week. Every day next week, there will be a NSBW event in one of the following cities: Miami/Boca Raton, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York and Washington, D.C. These regional city events include conversations with business leaders, like Office Depot CEO Roland Smith in Boca Raton, and opportunities to talk with SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.
If you live in one of the five cities where a national event will be held, check out the schedules here and be sure to register in advance.
You can tune in from far away! If you can’t make it to the main five NSBW events, fret not, you can still benefit by watching the live stream that will be available on the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov.
Also, you can follow the NSBW events on social media. The theme for the week is “SBA: Dream Big, Start Small.” The twitter hashtag will be #DreamSmallBiz.
There is probably an event happening right in your backyard. The national events with the SBA administrator tend to take the show spotlight, but there are locally organized SBA events all throughout the country happening throughout the next couple of weeks.
For example, Small Business Week Eastern Missouri has a schedule of almost 20 different events next week, ranging from information sessions about how to get an SBA loan for your business and how to win a government contract bid to a SBA gala and networking event. And the Small Business Week San Francisco, which starts later in the month, on May 16, include events like, “Navigating the City Bureaucracy: Doing Business in San Francisco” and “How Facebook is Helping Achieve Your Business Goals.”