In a show of support for Genesee County’s small businesses and entrepreneurs, the Flint & Genesee Chamber, in conjunction with the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance and Explore Flint & Genesee, is celebrating local businesses throughout the entire month of May.
Modeled on National Small Business Week, established by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) more than 50 years ago, the Flint & Genesee Chamber decided to dedicate a whole month to acknowledge the critical contributions of entrepreneurs and small business owners to the local economy.
“We are emphasizing the three Rs during Flint & Genesee Small Business Month,” said Andy Younger, executive director of the Flint & Genesee Chamber. “We want to recognize and promote small businesses in Flint & Genesee; strengthen relationships with our Chamber members; and highlight the resources that are available through the Flint & Genesee Chamber, the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center to help businesses thrive.”
Younger added that Flint & Genesee Small Business Month is also part of the COVID recovery effort, as businesses look ahead to resuming normal operations with the appropriate safety precautions in place.
“We know, for example, that restaurants have been hit extremely hard by COVID but it’s not only restaurants,” he said. “Many retail shops have suffered as well. Foot traffic is nowhere where it needs to be in our city centers for healthy commerce.”
There are 17,974 small businesses in Genesee County with 500 or fewer employees, which is the SBA’s threshold for designation as a small business. Of those, more than 16,000 local businesses have 10 or fewer employees.
The Flint & Genesee Chamber has set up a webpage to promote to the monthlong observance. It includes profiles of local small business owners, a calendar of events, and a social media toolkit for business owners and patrons. To access, visit flintandgenesee.org/flint-genesee-small-business-month.
“Small businesses are key to establishing and maintaining a strong sense of place, and a strong sense of place contributes to a vibrant local economy and community,” Younger said. “We encourage residents to join us in celebrating our local small businesses through their patronage and by using the hashtag #SupportFlintGenesee on their social media accounts.”