Now in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday is a day when buying gifts for the people we love supports jobs and prosperity in the communities we call home.

Sowing the seeds

Last year, nearly half of the 70 percent of U.S. consumers who knew about Small Business Saturday acted on it, spending an estimated $5.7 billion at local merchants across the country. It’s a critical day to help grow the American economy, because it’s our small businesses that create two out of every three new jobs nationwide.

In the last six months, America’s GDP grew at its fastest clip in more than a decade. Our unemployment rate is below 6 percent for the first time in six years and our economy has created 10.6 million new jobs over 56 straight months of growth. It’s our small businesses who’ have led our recovery, registering 15 straight quarters of employment growth.

"Last year, nearly half of the 70 percent of U.S. consumers who knew about Small Business Saturday acted on it, spending an estimated $5.7 billion at local merchants across the country."

Building momentum

It’s the U.S. Small Business Association's (SBA) job to help continue this momentum. We’re a small federal agency, but we play an outsized role in helping small businesses start up, expand and create jobs. We do this by offering access to the three Cs: capital, counseling and contracts.

The SBA promotes access to capital by serving borrowers who are unable to obtain loans through conventional lenders. Over the past year, we guaranteed $28.6 billion in low-interest loans to small businesses across the nation.  The SBA also has a nationwide network of business advisers who provide free counseling to help entrepreneurs qualify for financing and grow their enterprises. Finally, we help small business owners secure contracts from the largest buyer of goods and services in the world: the U.S. government.  To learn how the SBA can help your business get ahead, visit sba.gov.

On Saturday, every American can play a part to support jobs and economic growth in their own backyard. Visit your Main Street merchants and find unique, handmade gifts that you won’t at a big-box retailer. Or go online and support a local small business by buying a gift certificate or a gift to ship. Then, finish your day of shopping by dining small at a favorite local restaurant or watering hole in the evening and help usher in a new tradition of Small Business Saturday Night.

Main Street businesses are critical to our nation’s success, and supporting them this weekend is an act of economic patriotism. Do your part for your country and community this Saturday. Shop small, dine small and make a big difference.