Small Business
Small Business

Small Business is often referred to as the "Engine that moves America". 

The SBA's Office of Advocacy defines a small business for research purposes as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees and these standards vary by industry.

Small Firms...

  • Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
  • Employ just over half of all private sector employees.
  • Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
  • Have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.
  • Create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers).
  • Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
  • Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 30.2 percent of the known export value in FY 2007.
  • Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census and International Trade Admin.; Advocacy-funded research by Kathryn Kobe, 2007 ( and CHI Research, 2003 (; U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Small businesses employ just over half of U.S. workers! Of 119.9 million nonfarm private sector workers in 2006, small firms with fewer than 500 workers employed 60.2 million and large firms employed 59.7 million. Firms with fewer than 20 employees employed 21.6 million. While small firms create a majority of the net new jobs, their share of employment remains steady since some firms grow into large firms as they create new jobs. Small firms’ share of part-time workers (21 percent) is similar to large firms’ share (18 percent).

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census: Statistics of U.S. Businesses, Current Population Survey.

Small businesses represent more than 80% of the Chamber's total membership


Small Business of the Year

Small Business of the Year

Hampton Roads is home to an abundance of top notch small businesses, young entrepreneurs, flourishing startups and small business leaders working every day to strengthen our small business community. Recognize your favorite small business, start up or small business leader. Nominate them today for a Small Business of the Year Award.

Nominate Someone or Apply Now!


Business Education

Business Education at the Hampton Roads Chamber

The Hampton Roads Chamber is committed to supporting member business development by offering low or no cost educational opportunities on topics of interest to the business community.

Chamber Business Education


Small Business Development Center

Small Business Development Center in Hampton Roads, Virginia

The Hampton Roads Chamber, in partnership with Thomas Nelson Community College, the Mason Enterprise Center at George Mason University and the U.S. Small Business Administration, provides business counseling and educational programs to businesses with 99 or fewer employees.

Small Business Development


Small, Women, and Minority Owned


The SWaM certification program is administered by the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity ("SBSD") and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s effort to help small, women- and minority-owned businesses with doing business with state government entities.


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