In March of 2020, none of us could have predicted the total devastation that the pandemic would cause our small business community. Our nation has experienced significant changes in everyday life, from social interaction to how we conduct business, especially for our country’s economic engine and the more than 32 million small businesses that drive it.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are often recognized for their grit, perseverance and jack-of-all-trades abilities to get the job done and succeed. Throughout the pandemic, these traits shined through the challenging times as they endured the challenges and adjusted to survive. Nearly overnight these businesses had to make drastic adjustments and pivot to remain resilient. And pivot they have.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create nearly two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Here in Wisconsin, over 462,000 small businesses are owned by our friends and neighbors. In recognition of the determination our nation’s small business owners have shown, this year’s National Small Business Week, which the U.S. Small Business Administration has celebrated annually for more than 50 years, celebrates their strength and resiliency to keep our nation on track.

Beginning Sept. 13 and throughout National Small Business Week, we will recognize how small businesses navigated these challenging times while supporting their employees and communities. During the national virtual summit, the SBA and its partner SCORE will highlight small businesses that have retooled and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as they continue to pivot, recover and build a stronger economy. If you own a small business or are looking to start one, you can learn more and register for these and other great free events at sba.gov/wi.

We invite everyone to join the SBA during National Small Business Week and support your area small businesses by shopping local and sharing words of encouragement in honor of their perseverance, ingenuity and ongoing efforts to continue to lift our communities throughout Wisconsin.

Here in Wisconsin, SBA will celebrate the resiliency and resourcefulness of our Badger State businesses together with the SBA partners and lenders that have helped so many throughout the pandemic. Thousands of businesses were able to focus, pivot and recover with their assistance. Partners like SCORE, the Small Business Development Center network, Women’s Business Centers including WWBIC and the Western Wisconsin WBC, and the Veterans Business Outreach Center will showcase the stories of several small businesses and how they got the help they needed both online and at local events through the end of September. During National Small Business Week and all year long, these partners and the SBA are a click or a phone call away for any small business wanting free and confidential advice.

Every day, small businesses are working to grow, create 21st-century jobs, drive innovation and increase America’s global competitiveness and you can help. Purchasing from your local small businesses means more of your money stays in your community, supporting jobs and vibrant spaces and more.

Ness is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s district director in Wisconsin.