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facts about small businesses stocks in America

 A firm with fewer than 500 employees, but it also reflects how embedded entrepreneurship is in American culture. We watch in awe as once-small startups, like Twitter and Slack, transition into hugely successful ventures that are part of our everyday lives. We binge-watch old episodes of "Shark Tank," eager for inspiration for the next great business idea. And many of us dream of starting our own companies by dipping our toes into entrepreneurship with side hustles.

Business ownership has always required grit, hard work, and old-fashioned luck to find success. But running a business during the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown all the usual rules to the sidelines, as restaurants and bars facilitate the spread of the virus, small spaces operate at a limited capacity, and demand dries with a 6.9% unemployment rate in October and millions of Americans spending what little money they have on essentials. 

Data from 2017 and 2018 showed that fewer than 80% of businesses make it beyond their first year, while only around half survive for at least five years or more. In 2019 small businesses provided employment for nearly 60 million workers, and the pressure of making payroll every week can be decimating if sales don't meet expectations. And that was before the pandemic took its toll, shuttering thousands of small businesses, some closing temporarily but many for good. Small Business Saturday—when independent sellers hold sales and specials to attract holiday shoppers away from Amazon and big-box retailers—falls on Nov. 28 this year. Supporting these businesses has quite possibly never been more important.

Stacker took a look at figures and facts on entrepreneurship from a variety of sources, including the SBA, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and news reports. The statistics painted a fascinating picture of who's most likely to launch a business, the chances of a business to stick around for generations, and how much economic activity comes from firms that aren't major corporations.

Keep reading to learn facts about small businesses in America.

While "small business" might make you imagine local mom-and-pop shops on Main Street, the actual definition describes a company that's probably larger than you think. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) considers companies with fewer than 500 employees to be small businesses. This was also the standard used to determine which companies qualified for the Paycheck Protection Program loans during the COVID-19 crisis.

There were over 30 million small businesses in the nation in 2019, according to the SBA. While companies with fewer than 500 workers count as "small," the vast majority of businesses in the U.S. have a staff that's smaller than 20 workers, according to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

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