President John F. Kennedy proclaimed the first National Small Business Week in 1963 to recognize the critical contributions of small business owners to the U.S. economy. Today, it is estimated that more than half of Americans own or work for a small company, and these firms create about two-thirds of all the new jobs in the private sector each year.

This year, National Small Business Week takes place from May 12-16. The SBA uses the observance to highlight the impact of entrepreneurs from all 50 states that are successfully growing their businesses, creating jobs, driving innovation, and increasing America’s global competitiveness. Events will be held in Boston, Kansas City, San Francisco and Washington. The presentations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on May 15-16 range from Access to Capital to a Veterans Entrepreneurship Panel, as well as a business matchmaking and networking/resource expo, and a live-streamed Awards Luncheon honoring some of the top small business owners in the country.

Leaders, such as U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), are making small business growth among their top priorities. During National Small Business Week, Booker will host a forum for New Jersey small business owners on Friday, May 16 at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark to highlight federal resources available to help local mall manufacturers, and to discuss solutions for common challenges to expansion and stability. Officials from the SBA and other federal agency will attend and address topics including access to capital and growth strategies through exporting, among other topics. It’s the third in a series of small business forums Booker has hosted over the past few months.

Booker is a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, led by chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and ranking member James Risch (R-ID). Other high profile members of the committee include Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). For list of members, click here.

“As a business owner just approaching my first anniversary. There were plenty of resources that I was made aware of at Sen. Booker’s recent roundtable for small business owners,” said Amy Boroff, owner of Be Craftful, a children’s toy and walk-in crafting boutique in Fanwood, NJ.  “I learned more about mentorship opportunities and my local Economic Development Corporation and attended an Access to Capital panel for businesses at all stages of their life cycle. Funding for small businesses was a hot topic. It’s very important for women entrepreneurs.” 

During Small Business Week, Biz2Credit will be releasing the results of a study it has conducted on the Top Cities for Small Business Growth in America, and will break out nationwide data and examine the best places for women-owned and minority-owned companies to start and expand.  Biz2Credit will release the finding of its women’s study on FoxBusiness.com.

Rohit Arora is co-founder and CEO of Biz2Credit, an online resource that connects 1.6 million small business owners with 1,300+ lenders, credit rating agencies and service providers such as CPAs and attorneys via its Internet platform.  Since 2007, Biz2Credit has secured more than $1.2 billion in funding for small businesses across the U.S.  Follow Rohit on Twitter @biz2credit.