All Americans are descendants of immigrants. And the immigrant experience begins with risk-taking. All immigrants risk, to one degree or another, what they own and know. Taking that one great risk, that leap of faith, makes small most later decisions in life. Immigrants are, or have become, by their very nature risk-takers. Americans are risk-takers.
The American economic system encourages entrepreneurship. It pays in the U.S. to establish your own business. Businesses owners who enjoy high success do very well financially. Owners who enjoy medium success do well financially. Those, however, who enjoy low success do very poorly financially. “No risk, no reward.”
Small businesses – firms with fewer than 500 employees – drive the American economy by providing jobs for over half of the nation’s private sector workforce. Small businesses are job creators, representing 99.7% of all firms. They make up the following: 64% of net new private-sector jobs, 49.2% of private-sector employment, 46% of private-sector output, 43% of high-tech employment, 98% of firms exporting goods and 33% of exporting value.
Small businesses create more than half of the private non-farm gross domestic product and create 60-80% of net new jobs. 19.6 million Americans work for companies employing fewer than 20 workers, 18.4 million work for firms employing between 20 and 99 workers, and 14.6 million work for firms with 100 to 499 workers. 47.7 million Americans work for firms with 500 or more employees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics small firms accounted for 64% of the net new jobs created or 11.8 million of the 18.5 million net new jobs between 1993 and 2011. Since the latest recession, from mid-2009 to 2011, small firms, led by the larger ones in the category (20-499) employees, accounted for 67% of the net new jobs.