Small Business Statistics and Research

  1. Why should small business issues receive more attention in classrooms?
    • Two-thirds of college students intend to be entrepreneurs at some point in their careers; however, business school textbooks stress large- rather than small-firm examples, something that has frustrated many students after graduation.
    • Individuals with more education are more likely to become entrepreneurs, and they are also more likely to open a business employing more people.
    • Classrooms, both within and beyond schools of business, are filled with potential innovators. The key is to provide the necessary skills that will allow them to foster these talents and start new businesses.

    Sources: Students in Free Enterprise; Advocacy focus groups.

  2. How important are small businesses to the U.S. economy?
    Small firms:

    • total approximately 23 million in the United States, with roughly 75 percent of the firms having no employees.
    • represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
    • employ half of all private-sector employees.
    • pay 44.3 percent of the total U.S. private payroll.
    • generate 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually.
    • create more than 50 percent of nonfarm, private gross domestic product (GDP).
    • are employers of 39 percent of high-tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer workers).
    • made up 97 percent of all identified exporters and produced 29 percent of the known export value in FY 2001.

    Sources: U.S. Bureau of the Census; Advocacy-funded research by Joel Popkin and Company (Research Summary #211); U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey; U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration.

  3. Is there a link between entrepreneurship and economic activity?
    • There is a strong correlation between national economic growth and the level of national entrepreneurial activity in prior years, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).
    • In GEM countries, 71 percent of nascent or would-be entrepreneurs expect to create 1 to 20 jobs, and 21 percent expect to create at least 20 jobs in their new ventures.
    • Colleges and universities with high levels of R&D expenditures lead to increased firm formations in the surrounding metropolitan areas. Such R&D expenditures contribute to economic growth via these new firms.

    Sources: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor; Advocacy-funded research by BJK Associates (Research Summary #222).

  4. Where can I get more information?
    Visit our link to statistics sites for more information about Pennsylvania’s small businesses and general business statistics.