Small businesses key to state's job growth

The following was submitted to the Reporter by state Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett and state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry of Dorchester, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business

What makes Massachusetts special?  That is the question we ask you to ponder this week.  Is it our historic roots, our diverse mix of cultures, our leadership in innovation industries or just a good old New England town that come to mind?  

No matter your particular response, there is one fundamental answer to this question:  What both residents and visitors consider special about our state is largely a result of our local small businesses.  It is that neighborhood family restaurant, the local hair salon, that tech start up, and the mom and pop main street store that make Massachusetts unique. 

Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, ambassadors of our culture and history, and the drivers of our state’s future development.  While we are fortunate to be home to any number of international corporations and institutions, what truly keeps our economy moving forward are the nearly 585,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses who call Massachusetts home.  They span hundreds of industries driving innovation while also providing a paycheck and food on the table for many families throughout the Commonwealth. 

Not only do small businesses mark the cornerstone of economic development here in our state, they are also often the best neighbors, leading community rejuvenation and support efforts. No one works longer hours and yet somehow our local business owners find the time to promote fundraisers for area schools, host town meetings on important issues and organize weekend cleanups in our communities.

That is why we want to take this moment to ask of you a small favor on behalf of our small business community here in Massachusetts: The next time you run out for a coffee or a new couch, try to make a stop at your local small business. 

National Small Business Week, an annual celebration instituted by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, will be observed next week. Continuing this wonderful tradition, President Barack Obama is encouraging all of us to recognize the incomparable contributions of small businesses and entrepreneurs in our country.  In honor of the occasion, we are hosting a weeklong series of events with the help of Governor Deval Patrick, Treasurer Steve Grossman, Senate President Therese Murray, Speaker Robert DeLeo, and many others.  To kick off the festivities, we have asked all 198 of our colleagues in the Legislature to step out “On Main Street” on Mon., May 21, and shop local. Other events include a hearing on the Patrick administration’s progress in implementing Small Business Impact Statement legislation and the continuation of our Joint Committee’s Statewide Small Business Listening tour with a stop at UMASS Boston’s Venture Development Center.  The highlight of the week’s events will be a Small Business Resource Fair on May 23, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Great Hall at the State House, which is free and open to the public.  At the event, resource providers will be on hand to share information on the many programs available across the state to assist small businesses with everything from designing a business plan to procuring state funding. 

In addition, small business owners and legislators will have an opportunity to hear from our leaders about recent administrative and legislative efforts to improve the business climate in Massachusetts.
We hope that you will join us for any and all of these events but most importantly we hope you will remember to shop small and local this spring.  To learn more about State House Small Business Week 2012, visit the official Facebook page of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business at