Essential Pittsburgh
4:43 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

A Week-Long Celebration of Small Businesses

Rebecca Harris is the Executive Director of the Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship
Rebecca Harris is the Executive Director of the Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

This week is National Small Business Week. Rebecca Harris, Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University, discussed the week-long celebration. 

She explained that more than half of all Americans either own or work for a small business, and each year these businesses create two out of every three new jobs in the United States.

“[This week] is really designed to recognize the nation’s top businesses, the entrepreneurs,and really the business advocates. There are a number of activities; there are panel discussions, there are forums, there are workshops, there are webinars,” Harris said.

“It’s a big, big venture and it culminates with the naming of the Small Businessperson of the Year in Washington D.C. at the end of the week.” 

National Small Business Week was started by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, and since then small businesses have benefited from improved technology and more capital, among a number of factors.

The biggest change from 60’s to now, however, is that small businesses have become the innovators.

Harris says that's because “small businesses can turn on a dime.You can have a company that can incorporate today and tomorrow. They can set up with a little shop in a small office or a garage. Think about Steve Jobs, whereas large corporations really take time to innovate and move projects and a lot of people are involved.”