RALEIGH — Thanks to a proclamation by Gov. Roy Cooper, this week marks Small Business Week.

Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed Sept. 12-19, 2021, as Small Business Week to highlight the importance of small, independent businesses and entrepreneurship to North Carolina’s economy.

“As the backbone of our economy, small business owners and entrepreneurs are crucial pillars to North Carolina’s success,” Cooper said. “With much dedication even before the pandemic, the small business community has been the center of our economic prosperity from the mountains to the coast.”

Small Business Week celebrates the remarkable entrepreneurial spirit of North Carolina small businesses as they navigate the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic while continuing to support their employees and local communities. Pre-pandemic, the state’s 934,000 small businesses accounted for 99% of all North Carolina employers with the pandemic spurring a record-breaking number of business formations.

“North Carolina’s diverse small businesses and innovative startups are the heart and soul of their communities as job creators and community builders,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said. “Beyond our local communities, small businesses are significant contributors to North Carolina’s trade industry and global manufacturing reputation as they generate more than $29 billion in total exports. We are grateful for their enthusiasm and resilience and we remain committed to supporting their growth and success.”

Collaboratively, public agencies, education institutions and private-sector organizations assist small businesses with growth strategies and job creation by providing workforce training, business mentoring, financial assistance, research, technical assistance, and export services.

North Carolina provides many services to small businesses through NCWorks, community college small business centers, the N.C. Small Business and Technology Development Center, SCORE, the Veterans Business Outreach Center, the Rural Center and a toll-free information and referral service known as the Small Business Advisors hotline.