Guest Commentary: Saturday kicks off small business holiday season

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Michelle Harris is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Delaware district director. For information about the administration’s programs, visit sba.gov/de.

“How can we help you?”

It’s the simple question upon which most small businesses base their products and services, their community connections and — fundamentally — their very brands.

Small Business Saturday is celebrated across America this Saturday. It’s the day that, as a nation, we come together to ask that question of our small businesses in return. And, if past years are any indication, I know that Delawareans will turn out in force — on Small Business Saturday, throughout the holiday season and beyond — to support the Main Streets and mom and pop stores that make “home,” home.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is proud to co-sponsor Small Business Saturday with American Express. The administration is the federal agency with a mission that asks: “How can we help small businesses?” In the COVID-19 era, the agency became more of a household name, as its programs like the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan, the Paycheck Protection Program and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant supported small businesses of every stripe, as they navigated COVID-19’s impact. Indeed, since being established in 1953, our support of small business has been unwavering.

It’s in that spirit that — right here, in Delaware — the administration backs two new small-business-building programs aimed directly at Delaware small businesses.

First, the Community Navigator Pilot Program connects the SBA-backed Delaware Small Business Development Center with trusted local groups to effectively deliver small businesses the help that they need during economic recovery.

Second, throughout 2023, the Delaware Small Business Development Center hosts free virtual sessions detailing how eligible Delaware small businesses in underserved communities can exercise competitive advantage in the federal government contracting arena by getting certified by SBA as a “HUBZone” firm. Small Business Saturday is all about supporting our small businesses in every way that we can, and it’s with programs like these — along with the administration’s traditional capital, counseling and contracting programs — that we keep the momentum of those efforts going strong year-round.

And it’s in that spirit that I urge you to join SBA Delaware this Small Business Saturday in putting small businesses at the top of your “list.” The nationwide “Shop Small Map” at sba.gov and the Delaware Small Business Development Center’s First State-focused “Shop Small Directory” at delawaresbdc.org/shop-small make it easier than ever to find participating small businesses.

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