Small business is big news in America, and on Nov. 29 consumers have the opportunity to visit and shop at one of the nation’s 28 million small firms as part of the foruth annual Small Business Saturday.

American Express is a signature sponsor of Small Business Saturday and helps small companies by allowing entrepreneurial firms to put themselves on the “shop small business” map at http://shopsmallnow.americanexpress.com.

The company also enables firms to create Small Business Saturday marketing materials as well as offers suggestions on how business owners can and are driving customers to their doors.

American Express has also forged partnerships with a number of other entities to promote “shopping small.”

Maria Contreras-Sweet, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) administrator, announced that the federal agency has partnered with the National Restaurant Association (NRA) to promote dining out during Small Business Saturday. The partnership will amplify restaurants during the national push to support our nation’s small businesses on the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

“Local restaurants pack a big punch to our nation’s economy, as part of the economic powerhouse that is American small businesses. The restaurant industry is projected to add 1.3 million jobs over the next 10 years and to project $683.4 billion in total sales, equaling 4 percent of the U.S. GDP,” said Contreras-Sweet. “The SBA is proud to partner with the National Restaurant Association to champion this great sector of American small businesses.”

Dining out on Small Business Saturday will emphasize the accomplishments of small business restaurants across the country while encouraging consumers to patronize eateries in their neighborhoods. Restaurants are a significant factor in the nation’s economy as the industry’s economic impact is estimated at $1.8 trillion. Additionally, each dollar spent in restaurants generates an extra two dollars in sales for other industries, spurring economic activity in their communities and across the nation.

“Restaurants provide valuable jobs and careers for more than 13.5 million people and are strong economic engines in communities nationwide,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “While the industry is the nation’s second-largest private sector employer, the overwhelming majority of restaurants, more than 90 percent, have fewer than 50 employees. The National Restaurant Association is pleased to join forces with the Small Business Administration to showcase the industry’s critical role in overall small business creation.”

Additionally, the SBA and the NRA are encouraging small business owners and community members to share success stories of restaurants in their areas on social media using the hashtag “#DineSmall.” This will allow communities big and small to come together and show their support for entrepreneurs across the country.

To encourage not only the public to dine small, but also for restaurants to prepare for the busy day, the SBA will launch a social media campaign called #ShowUsYourMenu. Restaurants are asked to create a special menu for Small Business Saturday and promote it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to spotlight their business and remind everyone to #DineSmall while they #ShopSmall.

Visit the Small Business Saturday website for a list of participating restaurants.

The SBA is the voice for small business in the U.S.A. and advocates on behalf of 28 million small businesses, jumpstarting and nurturing their ideas. To learn more about support and products available to small businesses through the SBA, visit: www.sba.gov/tools.

Here are a few quick facts on the impact of small business in America:

  • They account for 54 percent of all United States sales.

  • Small businesses have provided 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s.

  • The 600,000-plus franchised small businesses in the U.S.A. account for 40 percent of all retail sales and provide jobs for some 8 million people. Only 2 percent of small businesses are franchises—most (54 percent) are home-based.

  • The small business sector in America occupies 30-50 percent of all commercial space, an estimated 20-34 billion square feet.

  • 70 percent of small businesses are owned and operated by a single person.

  • Only 50 percent of businesses survive five years—although most (70 percent) hit the two-year mark, half at least five years, a third at least 10 years, and a quarter stay in business 15 years or more.

  • Approximately 75 percent of all U.S. businesses are nonemployer businesses; to classify as a “nonemployer” business you must have annual business receipts of $1,000 or more and be subject to federal income taxes.

*About 19.4 million nonemployer businesses are sole proprietorships, 1.6 million are partnerships and 1.4 million are corporations.

  • Black-owned businesses in the United States increased 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007 totaling 1.9 million firms. More than 94 percent of these businesses are made up of sole proprietorships or partnerships which have no paid employees. Nearly four in 10 Black-owned businesses (more than 700,000) in 2007 operated in the health care, social assistance; and other services such as repair, maintenance, personal and laundry services sectors.

  • Despite the 60.5 percent increase of firms, 55 percent increase of receipts, and 13 percent increase of businesses with paid employees, Black-owned businesses still only make up 7 percent of all U.S firms and less than a half-percent of all U.S receipts. African American adults (ages 10 and up) make up 10 percent of the adult population and are therefore underrepresented in the U.S. in terms of business ownership, especially when it comes to earnings.

  • Among counties, Cook, Ill., (Chicago), had the most Black-owned businesses, with 83,733, accounting for 4.4 percent of the nation’s Black-owned fiorms. Los Angeles followed with 59,680 (3.1 percent) and Kings, N.Y. (Brooklyn), with 52,705 businesses (2.7 percent).

  • Immigrants make up 12.5 percent of small business owners nationwide.

  • Small businesses create 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting companies

  • Furthermore, the small business sector is growing rapidly. While corporate America has been “downsizing,” the rate of small business “start-ups” has grown, and the rate for small business failures has declined.

  • The number of small businesses in the United States has increased 49 percent since 1982.

  • Since 1990, as big business eliminated 4 million jobs, small businesses added 8 million new jobs.