Dell and Intel have teamed up to release new research that reveals a bright local outlook for Atlanta and Miami startups and small businesses despite the tough broader economic environment. The optimistic picture shows a favorable view of the local economy and local organizations supporting businesses as well as healthy expectations for growth.
“The confidence of entrepreneurs gives us good reason for optimism, even while everyone worries about the national economy,” said Jonathan Ortmans, senior fellow at Kauffman Foundation and president of Global Entrepreneurship Week. “We must look past doom-and-gloom headlines and remain focused on strengthening local entrepreneurial ecosystems to support startups and small businesses.”
The release of the Dell-Intel survey findings kicks off a nine-city Small Business Think Tank tour aimed at understanding the state of small business at the local level. Through listening and dialogue, the research and tour will examine the prospects, perceptions and priorities of startup and small business owners in Atlanta, Miami, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Austin over the coming months and help inform recommendations for the tools and resources they need to grow both at home, nationally and globally. The events are hosted in collaboration with local chambers of commerce and national partners including Global Entrepreneurship Week and Startup America Partnership. At the conclusion of the tour, Dell and Intel will publish a comprehensive report on the state of U.S. small business based on the quantitative and qualitative data gathered from the nine cities.
ATLANTA AND MIAMI SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS
- Growth remains the focus in the face of the tough economy. Nearly all startups and small businesses plan to grow (97 percent, Miami; 91 percent, Atlanta) and say growth is important (96 percent, Miami; 91 percent, Atlanta). Despite reporting challenges of growing a small business in today’s economic environment and worries about sustaining the success of their businesses, more than half plan to grow in the near-term (53 percent, Miami; 52 percent, Atlanta).
- Views of the outlook and support for small business generate greater optimism in the local economy. Most respondents are optimistic about their companies’ financial situations; they expect a better year (63 percent, Miami; 60 percent, Atlanta), sales outlook (74 percent, Miami; 84 percent, Atlanta) and growth opportunities (66 percent, Miami; 67 percent, Atlanta) next year. Compared with a 14.6 percent aggregate national approval rating for Congressional job performance reported by RealClearPolitics, they rate local elected officials much higher (49 percent, Miami, 64 percent, Atlanta).
- Limited hiring shifts the focus to technology as a growth driver, but the priority placed on talent suggests hiring on the horizon. Nearly half of small businesses stayed the same size over the past three years (44 percent, Miami; 45 percent, Atlanta), most are neither hiring nor firing (73 percent, Miami; 71 percent, Atlanta), and in the face of limited hiring, more than half expect growth will come by investing in technology (50 percent, Miami; 57 percent, Atlanta).
Additional survey findings are available on Slideshare for Atlanta.
“We know small businesses are doing more with less and employing technology to be more productive, and this enables them to grow their businesses profitably,” said Mel Parker, vice president and general manager of Consumer, Small Office and Member Loyalty at Dell. “The growth technology fuels promises to improve future hiring, especially since technology-savvy small businesses create more jobs than their counterparts.”
Small Business Think Tank events kickoff today in Atlanta. To follow the discussion real time via the live stream and join the conversation on Twitter, use hashtags #smallbizATL.