The world’s economy is going green, and many opportunities have opened for sustainable entrepreneurs who want to be part of the green revolution. A sustainable, or “green,” business is one that shows a commitment to an environmentally sustainable future by striving to create a positive impact on natural resources and their local communities.
Small businesses are a powerful force that helps drive many benefits for local communities. Have you taken a walk down your favorite downtown street or gone shopping in your favorite district recently? Do you go to your favorite small business because of their charm, their history, or their impact on you or the community?
Now try to think of how you are spending at local businesses and how it contributed to the business owner’s ability to positively impact their community. Our spending habits are an effective way to help create more economic health in a local community. More specifically, if you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays within your local economy. This provides more resources for a small business to go green and implement sustainable practices that benefit the triple bottom-line: people, profit, and planet.
Small businesses are the backbone of their local communities. They benefit their local communities in many concrete and quantifiable ways. Here are 10 ways a small business creates positive impacts in the local community:
- They create a unique community identity. Small local businesses, from shops to professional services, reflect the personality of a town.
- They create greater community involvement. Approximately 52% of small business owners donate to charity, and of those that donate, 90% donate to local causes.
- They strengthen the economic health of the community. Bolstering sales of their friends and neighbors creates strong community bonds and keeps money in the community, instead of sending it to corporate shareholders.
- They promote environmental friendliness. Small business owners looking for a storefront can take advantage of older, historic buildings that give a sense of charm and uniqueness to their shop, thus reutilizing spaces without the need of new development.
- They increase the local tax base. Local businesses pay local taxes, increasing the city revenue available for improvements to roads, schools and area green spaces.
- They create local jobs. A city or town with a thriving small business environment encourages people to stay, making it economically feasible to do so.
- They encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. In towns where business regulations and tax credits are beneficial to small businesses, it is easier for those with drive and perseverance to succeed with innovative services or products.
- They boost healthy competition. Many small businesses start with a new approach to a common problem, whether by providing services to help others or in developing new products, and healthy competition improves their offerings over time.
- They require lower maintenance and less need for city infrastructure. Local shops tend to require less maintenance from a city, as well as fewer public services to operate.
- They provide a diversity of products that are locally made. Another benefit of local businesses is that their products tend to be locally made and selected to suit local tastes.
These are just a few examples of how small businesses make an impact in their local communities. Small businesses provide character and individuality to a community. It is neighbors helping neighbors ― friends helping friends.
EDGAR RAFAEL OLIVO is a bilingual business educator, economic advisor, and contributor for several media outlets. He’s a nonprofit executive who is passionate about education. He is certified in finance and data analytics and holds a business degree from Arizona State University.
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