Today, on Small Business Saturday, we celebrate the contributions of small businesses to our country and our communities – and we encourage everyone to make a visit to a small business as part of their holiday shopping. It is well worth it. For the last eight years, I have had the honor of working with small business owners across the United States and have seen firsthand as they turn their dreams into engines of our economy and essential parts of our communities.
There’s plenty of reason for celebration today.
Through hard work and talent, small business owners have grown and created opportunity for Americans from coast to coast, contributing to the more than 15 million private-sector jobs created since early 2010.
Small business owners have helped to lead the way with higher minimum wages and pay -- recognizing that when employees have the support they need to thrive, so do their businesses.
Under President Obama, small businesses have played a greater role than ever before in supporting the work of the federal government. In Fiscal Year 2015, for instance, we awarded an all-time high of more than a quarter of eligible federal contracts to small businesses, and we made great strides in ensuring more government contracts are given to women-owned small businesses -- nearly $18 billion worth.
Perhaps most importantly, small businesses are the backbone of our communities. Small business owners don’t just employ our neighbors; more often than not, they live alongside us, too. They support our Little League teams, our schools, our houses of worship, and our charities. And they provide the essential character of towns and cities across America.
Dreams do not often materialize easily. It takes persistence, determination, and the ability to bounce back quickly from failure. Yet every day, small business owners across the United States defy the odds -- never giving up, trusting their instincts, and following their dreams relentlessly. And we are all better for it.
So today, please join me in supporting a small business in your community -- and saying thank you to all the men and women who have taken the leap of faith to realize their own entrepreneurial dreams.