May is Small Business Month
Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical accomplishments of America's entrepreneurs and small business owners. The Amherst Chamber of Commerce annually recognizes small businesses in our region at a Luncheon and Showcase during the month of May. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business and they create two out of every three jobs in the U.S each year. Over 80% of our members are small businesses. We realize the impact this demographic has on our community as each day they work to create 21st century jobs, drive innovation and increase our region's prosperity.
Small businesses have the power to change lives and transform communities. The Chamber is continuing our legacy of insuring that our members have the tools and resources they need to grow their businesses and to continue to create jobs. We celebrate your entrepreneurship and are committed to working with you and our partners in the region to assist you in your path to sustainable success.
The economic decline that we are finally working our way out of had severe consequences for small businesses. Commercial credit markets were frozen. Stable, well run businesses were dealing with a declining market base that had less discretionary spending. People were afraid to spend money, employment was down, advertising and marketing took huge hits and the future was blurry, at best. But small business entrepreneurs are resilient and the majority of our members worked through these rough times and are talking about expansions and hiring more employees. We are, once again, talking about opportunity. And, as always, the Amherst Chamber is ready, willing and able to assist you with your growth.
As a member of the Regional Economic Development Council, I can provide guidance on if and how you can qualify for New York State funding. As a supporter of One Region Forward and 43 North, our organization can disseminate information on these awesome economic development opportunities. Our Business Resource Council hosts Tools for Prosperity Workshops monthly that deliver business advice on everything from seed capital to human resource and marketing to business etiquette as a member benefit. Our in house health insurance agency customizes health benefits for our small businesses and their employees. Our complimentary networking opportunities, including ProNet and Business After Hours are venues for promoting your products and services. Our Public Policy Committee works with our public officials at all levels of government to make sure your voice is heard and/or to give you opportunities to meet with your representative.
May is the month we recognize our small businesses, but we work on your behalf all year long.