SBA marks Small Business Week with virtual summit

The U.S. Small Business Administration marked National Small Business Week with a virtual summit. 

The events, intended to spotlight the perseverance entrepreneurs have shown during the pandemic and the recovery of small businesses took place Sep. 13-15. The event included representatives from Fortune 500 companies who discussed their paths to success and shared resources to help businesses. Virtual booths allowed entrepreneurs to develop one-on-one connections with private and public sector partners to create chances for collaboration and information-sharing. Small business participants learned of new business strategies, met other business owners and spoke with industry experts. 

The activities took place after President Joe Biden declared Sept. 12-18 as National Small Business Week. 

 Entrepreneur, singer and actress Jennifer Lopez joined SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman on Sep. 14 for “Pathways to Entrepreneurship: a Fireside Chat,” moderated by MSNBC contributor Maria Teresa Kumar, to talk about entrepreneurship and engagement. Guzman and Lopez discussed SBA initiatives and plans to support small businesses impacted by Covid-19. Other speakers included entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Chef Jose Andres, White House Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond and other elected leaders. 

To mark National Small Business Week, ICBA Chair Robert Fisher also called on the public to support locally-owned businesses. More than half of Americans either own or work for one. Community banks consist of more than 60 percent of small business loans under $1 million and are frequently rated as small business lenders of choice, according to Federal Reserve Banks. 

“As we celebrate America’s entrepreneurial spirit, we celebrate the visionaries and business leaders whose tenacity and ingenuity are at the heart of our nation’s economic recovery,” said Fisher, president and CEO of Tioga State Bank in Spencer, N.Y. “Community banks serve as financial first responders and trusted advisors for start-ups and established small businesses. As an industry, we are proud to support this critical source of job creation powering local economies.”