A Nation Founded by Small Business Owners

By at 2 July, 2024, 1:18 pm

by Raymond J. Keating –

We celebrate the birth of the United States of America on July Fourth. And when looking at the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, we discover that this is a nation overwhelmingly founded by small business owners.

Specifically, according to the National Archives, of the 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, while 14 unfortunately were plantation owners, nearly all of the rest were merchants, printers, farmers, physicians, land speculators, and lawyers. That is, they had their own enterprises. For good measure, there were a couple of ministers.

These 248 years later, the U.S. remains a nation of small business owners, with 98.3 percent of the nation’s 6.3 million employer firms, based on the latest Census Bureau data, having fewer than 100 employees. And then there are an additional 27.2 million nonemployer firms.

And finally, in 2023, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there were 16.4 million Americans that were self-employed, that is, individuals who identify themselves as fulltime entrepreneurs.

America is a nation that was founded by small business owners, and it continues to be an economy led by entrepreneurs and risk-takers. Let freedom – and the entrepreneurial spirit – ring!

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. His latest books on the economy are The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist, The Weekly Economist II: 52 More Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist and The Weekly Economist III: Another 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist.

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