Here is a shocking statistic, which has walked right by most mainstream media without much notice: According to the 2011 Census, for the first time in recorded history (since 1978), there were more small business deaths in America, than small business births.
If we don’t turn this around, America’s years as the world’s super power are numbered. That said, I see a rainbow, following this storm. In fact, you cannot have a rainbow, without a storm first.
According to Gallup research, 70% of all jobs in America come from small businesses with five hundred or fewer employees, and half of all jobs in America come from small businesses with one hundred or fewer employees.
Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton adds, “There are approximately six million small businesses in the United States, and they are the very backbone of the country’s democracy. Those businesses fund significantly more American jobs and [gross domestic product] than big business does.”
For nearly eight years running, America hovered at around 400,000 start-ups per year, and most recently that number dipped troublingly to 350,000 in the last year reported. But, according to Clifton, we need approximately one million small business start-ups per year to lift up our country’s economy, create jobs, and sustain our prosperity.
That means we are about 650,000 start-ups short, and I believe that a good number of these small businesses can come from populations that have been left behind, ignored, or massively misunderstood and underestimated.
But the need for these small businesses is even more basic in the places and neighborhoods with which I am most concerned. These communities have enormous unmet needs for everything from traditional banking to gas stations to quality food and even entertainment. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service estimated that 23.5 million people live in “food deserts” located more than one mile from a large grocery store.3 More than half of these people (13.5 million) are low income, and thus there is a great need to set up markets and grocery stores in many communities. Meeting that need is one of the ways in which the poor can help save capitalism while also helping themselves.
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