SBA publication: Small firms big business

Small firms collectively constitute big business in the United States, according to newly updated government statistics.

A variety of statistics are compiled in the latest version of a publication from the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy titled “Frequently Asked Questions About Small Business.”

The publication is available online from the SBA Office of Advocacy website at

According to the latest government statistics cited in the publication, there are about 30.7 million small businesses — those with fewer than 500 employees — in the U.S., accounting for more than 99 percent of all firms. About 24.8 million firms have no employees, a total that’s increased 61 percent since 1997.

About 9.9 million small businesses are women-owned, 8 million minority-owned and 2.5 million veteran-owned. About half of all firms are home-based and about a fifth are family-owned.

Nearly 3 percent of small firms are part of franchise organizations.

Small businesses employ a total of about 60 million people, or nearly half of all private-sector employees in the U.S. Since 2000, small businesses have created 65 percent of net new jobs.

Small businesses account for exports worth a total value of $429.3 billion. That’s a third of the value of all U.S. exports.

In 2016, more than 433,000 small businesses opened and nearly 400,000 firms closed. Four out of five small businesses started in 2017 survived until 2018. About half of all small businesses survive at least five years and about a third survive at least 10 years.

The most common sources of financing for small business expansions include personal and family savings, business profits and assets, loans from financial institutions and business credit cards.