Guest Commentary: What’s the big deal about small businesses in Delaware?


Regina Mitchell is the director of the Delaware Division of Small Business.

There’s a good chance you know someone who owns or works at a small business in Delaware. Small businesses are the backbone of Delaware’s economy. They account for 98% of all businesses in the state and employ nearly 240,000 of your friends, family and neighbors; that’s just over half of the First State’s workforce.

The month of May is National Small Business Month, and the first week is recognized as National Small Business Week. Both are a time to celebrate small businesses and their courage, community efforts, hard work and contributions to local economies.

There are several reasons to support one of Delaware’s 27,000 small businesses.

Unique products: They offer unique products and services that may not be found at larger stores, making for a more diverse and interesting shopping experience. Personalized customer service: Small-business owners often take pride in providing personalized customer service, building relationships with their customers and creating a sense of community. Reduced environmental impact: Small businesses often have a smaller environmental impact and footprint, typically use fewer resources and produce less waste. Innovation: Small businesses often serve as hubs for innovation and creativity. They are more likely to take risks and try new ideas, which can lead to the development of new products and services, as well as new business models. Economic diversity: Small businesses help create new industries and niche markets, thus creating more varied economic opportunities for the state.

And, of course, there is job creation. In fiscal year 2022 in Delaware, small businesses employed 56% of the state’s workforce and generated $13.8 billion in wages. Additionally, small businesses are often very involved in their local communities. They sponsor local events, donate to charity and provide jobs and other economic opportunities in their local areas.

There is a place in the state’s economy for both large and small businesses. Often though, small businesses need extra help, as they have fewer staff and resources available to them.

So how can you support small businesses this month and throughout the year?

  1. Shop local: Consider buying from small businesses in your area. This can include shopping at local stores and farmers markets, eating at local restaurants and using services (cleaning, heating and electrical, landscaping, etc.) provided by local companies.
  2. Spread the word: Tell your friends and family about your favorite small businesses in Delaware. Share their social media pages or leave a positive review online.
  3. Attend local events: Attend events hosted by small businesses, such as craft fairs or live music events.
  4. Buy gift cards: Consider purchasing gift cards from small businesses as gifts for friends and family. This can help support the business and encourage others to shop there, as well.

If you are looking to start or grow your own small business, visit our website at and learn more about how the division can help you achieve or expand your dreams through the help of our county-based regional business managers. They can help you:

  • Navigate challenges involving county, state and federal entities and processes. They help you cut through red tape, reducing the amount of time you spend dealing with government and allowing you to focus on opening or growing your enterprise.
  • Connect with resource organizations. There are approximately 100 different organizations, government entities, nonprofits and more that provide services directly to Delaware small businesses.
  • Identify funding opportunities from federal, regional or Division of Small Business programs for which you may qualify.

Supporting small businesses in Delaware can have positive economic, social and environmental impacts on the local community. By supporting small businesses in Delaware, you help the owner pursue their dreams and strengthen the First State’s economy.

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