Small But Mighty – How Local, Small Business Drives Economic Engines

smallbutmightyBy Kathryn M. Miller ~ Small business is a big deal – especially in Arizona where small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees) make up 97 percent of all employers in the state. In addition, firms with fewer than 100 employees have the largest share of small business employment. Arizona’s small businesses employ 979,412 of the state’s private workforce (45.1 percent), according to the Arizona Small Business Profile, 2016 released by the Small Business Administration, and created 37,864 net new jobs in 2013.

A lot of numbers and statistics to consider – but here is one more that hits closer to home: Studies have shown that up to four times more money stays in the local economy when dollars are spent with local businesses than with national chains.

When consumers buy local for products, services, shopping, dining and more, good things happen. Not only does more money stay in the local economy, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance found that local businesses tend to give back more to their community through charitable giving. That’s support for local children’s teams needing a sponsor or donations to an area food pantry.

Small, locally owned businesses also help support healthy communities, according to a study published in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. And one could argue that a healthy community is a happy community.

One of the state’s most vocal small business cheerleaders, Local First Arizona, also says that, “When local businesses are thriving, everyone wins. The economy is more diversified to prevent against economic downturns, there are more jobs to employ individuals across the state and there is more opportunity for economic growth.” (Learn more about LFA on page12).

What this boils down to is that small businesses are an important source of employment and economic activity and serve as the foundation of many communities.

“You cannot overlook the role of small businesses if you want to understand the current state of the U.S. economy,” says the National Retail Federation ( “Never underestimate their power; small business owners are entrepreneurs and innovators, and, most importantly, support the vitality of our communities.”

Small but mighty, indeed. |CST


Resource AZ: Build YOUR Dream Small Business

Arizona Commerce Authority:

Arizona Small Business Association:

City of Phoenix:

Greater Phoenix SCORE:

Local First AZ:

Seed Spot:

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