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Let’s take a moment to consider that many of America’s founding fathers were small business owners who provided needed goods and services in the growing colonies. Alexander Hamilton, who founded the Bank of New York by the age of 29, was even called “America’s first capitalist.” Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, a printer and a newspaperman. George Washington was a farmer, a landowner and owned a distillery.  Thomas Jefferson was a farmer, a vintner and an architect.

When I travel, I like to visit museums and local art galleries. History tells wonderful stories. Art galleries give insight to local culture. Having recently come from visiting downtown Savannah, Georgia, I could not help but think that the United States is a wonderful nation founded by risk takers.

They all were entrepreneurs. Risk takers.  

America’s Independence Day is not only a celebration of our forebears throwing off the bondage of tyranny; it is also a day to recognize everything that makes our country unique in the world.

For those who are entrepreneurs or dreaming to becoming one – we know It takes courage, resolution and determination to start and run a business – a lot like our founders showed when they called for the creation of a new nation.  Hoo-ha!  When monarchical taxation and oversight became too oppressive to bear, our nation’s founders were determined to create a free nation where men and women could be free to live up to their potential – this became “The American Dream.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, “The American Dream” is still alive.

Sure, there are challenges. Obstacles such as a lack of access to capital, business training, and mentorship can very quickly ruin an entrepreneur’s dreams. America’s Founding Fathers took the incredibly risky task of signing the Declaration of Independence under threat of execution by the King, and it took almost a decade for that dream to become reality. (Anyone remember their history?)

Small businesses are the anchor of the United States economy today, accounting for 99% of America’s 28.7 million firms. The vast majority of these firms have fewer than 20 employees.  Small businesses create jobs, sustain the local tax base, and support non-profits.  We owe our thanks to them.

Roughly 8% of small businesses are owned by veterans (source: US Census, Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, 2014). The smaller the business, the more likely it is to be owned by woman.  Four of every 10 U.S. small business are owned by women, and they have grown a spectacular 58% from 2007 to 2018. Businesses owned by women generate $3.1 trillion in revenue. Yet – they face the most challenges compared to their male counterparts, when it comes to getting financial funding, building a support network, balancing a business and family and to be taken seriously.

Happy birthday America. While you’re out there, celebrating this fourth of July holiday – Please take the time to say thank you to the entrepreneurs in your life, and your local small business owners for all they do for you and your local community. Even better yet, show your support by referring them, providing them a testimonial or spending your dollars with them.

Support and shop local.