Alexandra Rosen

Everyday entrepreneurs are the real saviors of the local economy during a time of economic crisis, adding new jobs and creating fatter wallets, according to research conducted by Venture Forward at GoDaddy. 

The Venture Forward program at GoDaddy conducted a multi-year study of 20 million microenterprise ventures and the data it obtained are impressive.

It defines a venture as “a business, nonprofit, cause or idea represented by a unique domain and active website.”

 The study found that microbusinesses contribute exponentially to the health of the local economy. 

“During the 2008 recession, communities with higher microbusiness density recovered faster,” explained Alexandra Rosen, executive director of Venture Forward. “For example, take two cities that are alike in population diversity, similar age group distribution, similar broadband adaption rates but one city is in the top 10 percent of cities that recovered and the other is in the bottom 10 percent. 

“The only difference between the two cities is one in the top 10 percent has twice the density of microbusinesses.” 

In Phoenix 2018, according to Venture Forward, the monthly median household income was $5,769. By adding one highly active microbusiness per 100 people, that number rose to $6,177 – a 6 percent increase. 

Unemployment level also is impacted by the number of microbusinesses.

The research shows that each new start-up creates two or more new jobs. Adding one or more microbusinesses per 100 people can reduce the unemployment rate by .05 percent. 

Even during the pandemic-driven shutdown, the study found, 22 percent of businesses closed up shop from February to April while the number of microbusinesses only dipped 1.8 percent.

Kara Lamb, a Queen Creek resident, owns three microbusinesses with her husband.

 Together they own Small Wonders daycare at 21925 E. Rosa Road and Weight Loss Boutique at 21455 S. Ellsworth Road, both in Queen Creek, as well as Got Roots Salon and Spa at 2036 N. Gilbert Road in Mesa. 

Lamb is a prime example of bringing jobs to the market. 

She was able to open her salon and spa during the pandemic while growing her other two businesses by integrating them online and creating new and future positions that could become available as these businesses continue to grow. 

Microbusinesses need support now more than ever, Rosen said. 

Many have closed their doors in the Southeast Valley for lack of resources, capital and failure to develop an online presence.

Government help can be hard to find and many entrepreneurs lack sufficient skills or funds to create a robust online presence or platform, Rosen said.

 Gary Stewart, a Gilbert resident who has owned GNL landscaping for the past 10 years, said his biggest struggle is that he works with a skeleton crew of only 13 men. 

Each time one of them gets sick, it hinders his ability to take on special projects – the bread and butter of his business. 

“The biggest struggle is people feeling sick and not being aware of what the issue is,” he said.

“People will say they’re not feeling well and I will tell them that they need to get tested and then they will have a negative test and will come back to work a few days later,” Stewart continued. “But what makes us nervous is that we don’t ever really know. It’s a revolving door with employees and testing.”

Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek have all been diligently working together on rectifying many of these issues. 

These municipalities have partnered with several entities to get multiple resources out to the entrepreneurs in their community. 

Queen Creek, for example, is considered a prime location for starting a small or microbusiness. The town encourages entrepreneurship and makes resources are readily available for start-ups.

 “The Queen Creek Town Council approved an ordinance to waive fees for new business licenses and renewals from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 for businesses that have a physical location in Queen Creek,” Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney said.

“Council also approved a resolution implementing a grant program to reimburse businesses for costs incurred in connection with enhanced sanitization, employee safety, and customer safety.” 

“In addition to applying for our small business support grant mentioned, local businesses can access resources on our website, QueenCreek.org/BusinessSupport. This page provides direction in how to find resources on the county, state and federal level,” Barney said. 

To help start-up micro and small businesses across the Valley, the Better Business Bureau and GoDaddy teamed to start the Empower program. 

Information: bbbempower.com.