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Bill Rubin column: Celebrating small business

Bill Rubin

John F. Kennedy started a tradition in 1963 as the first U.S. President to designate a National Small Business Week. Fifty-five years later, the proclamations continues as a way to recognize the important contributions of entrepreneurs and small business owners.

This year's Small Business Week is set for April 29-May 5 and includes statewide celebrations to honor the likes of a family-owned small business winner, a young entrepreneur, a small business person of the year, a minority small business champion, and small business subcontractor of the year.

St. Croix County will be well represented in Waukesha on May 4 as Baldwin's Patrick Traynor, owner-founder of SKYCOAT, LLC, accepts the emerging small business of the year award from the Wisconsin district office of the Small Business Administration (SBA). In February, St. Croix EDC honored SKYCOAT as its 2017 Small Business of the Year honoree.

Eric Ness, SBA's state director, said this year's honorees represent the best of Wisconsin's 445,000 small businesses and the supporters who help them start, grow and succeed.

How important are small businesses? More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business and they create nearly two of every three new jobs in the U.S. annually, according to the SBA. Dreamers and innovators take great risks to start businesses, leading to the creation of family-supporting jobs.

St. Croix County's estimated 2,200 businesses pale in comparison to the 445,000 in Wisconsin or the 29.6 million in the U.S. A growing number of America's small businesses are minority-owned, currently estimated at eight million. Women-owned businesses are moving toward 10 million, while black or African American-owned businesses total 2.6 million, followed by veteran-owned at 2.5 million.

Here's to the risk takers, the gamblers, the innovators, the visionaries, and tireless dealmakers. America is still the land of great opportunity. May small businesses prosper.

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