They've been called the "backbone of the economy" by President Obama.
With 27.5 million operating in the United States, they produced 65 percent of new jobs in 2009 and employ about half of the workforce.
They also produce about 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.
Yes, the small business has long been a mainstay in American life, but many are in financial trouble. Only half of small businesses will last more than five years. In 2009, 552,600 firms opened. About 660,900 closed their doors.
In Portland, many firms have received help from the federal government's Recovery Act. Several minority-owned firms have also received money to create and save jobs, and to expand.
The Miracles Club received $1,033,942 in tax credit assistance for the construction of their affordable housing project being constructed at 4218 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The building will house 40 alcohol and drug-free apartments for those in recovery.
Albina Headstart created 23 jobs with the infusion of $1,376,108. KOLA, Inc. created 43 jobs with $956,085 with the Microloan Technical Assistance Program.
On Monday, President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act, which will expand the kind of support that the Recovery Act has provided to Small Businesses. The Jobs Act will provide more than 1,400 businesses with loans totaling $730 million. Unfortunately for businesses just starting the process, this does not even begin to address the scope of the problem. Those 1,400 businesses have already been waiting in the Recovery Loan Queue for assistance.
In addition, the act expands the size of loans available, in some cases providing access to working capital up to $1 million, and other loans to $5 million.
The act also cuts taxes for small businesses:
Zero Taxes on Capital Gains from Key Small Business Investments: Under the Recovery Act, 75 percent of capital gains on key small business investments this year were excluded from taxes;
Extension and Expansion of Small Businesses' Ability to Immediately Expense Capital Investments: The bill increases for 2010 and 2011 the amount of investments that businesses would be eligible to immediately write off to $500,000, while raising the level of investments at which the write-off phases out to $2 million;
Extension of 50% Bonus Depreciation: The bill extends – as the President proposed in his budget – a Recovery Act provision for 50 percent "bonus depreciation" through 2010;
A New Deduction of Health Insurance Costs for Self-Employed: The bill allows 2 million self-employed to know that on their taxes for this year, they can get a deduction for the cost of health insurance;
Tax Relief and Simplification for Cell Phone Deductions: The bill changes rules so that the use of cell phones can be deducted without burdensome extra documentation;
An Increase in the Deduction for Entrepreneurs' Start-Up Expenses: The bill temporarily increases the amount of start-up expenditures entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes for this year from $5,000 to $10,000;
A Five-Year Carryback Of General Business Credits: The bill would allow certain small businesses to "carry back" their general business credits to offset five years of taxes;
Limitations on Penalties for Errors in Tax Reporting That Disproportionately Affect Small Business: The bill would change, beginning this year, the penalty for failing to report certain tax transactions from a fixed dollar amount.
To download the Small Business Resource Guide for Oregon and SW Washington, visit http://www.smallbusiness3.com/pdf/english/oregon.pdf.