Every day, a person in Bismarck-Mandan can run into a business he or she had never seen or heard about before. It seems like every other car or truck in traffic carries the logo and slogan for a small business. A surprising number of young people in the community are starting their own business. All of this gives the community a feeling of good energy.
The state has been promoting the idea of entrepreneurship — a strategy that can be traced back to the administrations of former governors Ed Schafer and John Hoeven — and it’s paying off. Also, the state’s healthy economy makes the idea of starting a business here attractive to people in and out of North Dakota.
The market drives the growth in small business.
We believe creating small businesses is the way to create jobs.
In Sunday Money, the Tribune looked at the numbers related to small businesses.
-- Businesses with fewer than 100 employees employed more than 40 percent of North Dakotans.
-- There were 17,488 small businesses in the state in 2010. It’s up from 16,599 in 2000.
-- Small businesses employed 182,543 North Dakotans in 2010.
-- Small businesses employed 60 percent of the private-sector workforce.
-- There are abut 15,400 businesses in the state with 20 or fewer employees.
While the oil industry has been helping to drive North Dakota’s economy, it would be wrong to assume all the businesses in the oil patch are big companies. Rather, for every large company doing business in the oil patch, there are three, four or more small companies providing support and services.
A new business owner is as likely to be a woman as a man.
Because markets are no longer entirely geographically based, due to the Internet, it means more and different kinds of small businesses can locate in western North Dakota. And there are software and Internet-based services that can support a small business, making startup easier.
The truth is, our contemporary world can be small-business friendly. The Small Business Administration and other state and federal agencies and programs are big boosters of small businesses. On the other hand, the biggest obstacles for small businesses are regulations and government requirements.
We know consumers like small businesses, operated by people from the community, investing in the community, accountable and responsible for their goods and services.
North Dakota’s economy expanded by 13 percent last year. Small businesses are a big reason for that growth.