LANSING — House Democrats introduced their Small Business, Big Impact legislation at a press conference today, a five bill package designed to ensure entrepreneurs have access to the critical supports and opportunities necessary to get their businesses off the ground and keep their doors open.

“Many of our favorite small businesses are often community institutions, but when you look at the numbers it’s clear they’re also the foundation of our state’s economy,” said state Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Huntington Woods), one of the bill sponsors and speakers at the event. “By expanding opportunities for small business owners and employees alike, we can build upon that foundation and continue to push our economy forward.”

Nearly half of all people working in Michigan are currently employed by small businesses, which represent 23 percent of Michigan’s $50.5 billion in total exports.

“Our small businesses have been hurt by years of disinvestment,” said state Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit). “This package will level the playing field a bit more by focusing on the truly small enterprises that are doing the real job creation, the real innovation, the real expansion our state needs.”

In 2016, Michigan small businesses created more than 55,000 net jobs, with firms employing fewer than 20 people adding more than 30,000 of those jobs. In industries like agriculture, which contribute $104 billion annually to the state’s economy, small business ownership represents 96 percent of the employment share.

“People don’t go into business for themselves for fame or money; they do it because they see a need they know they’re capable of filling in their community,” said state Rep. Cara Clemente (D-Lincoln Park). “So many of our state’s small business owners aren’t just strengthening our economy, they’re investing back in their communities every day. They provide Michiganders with the goods and services they need from the warm, smiling faces they recognize. It’s time they know that their efforts are being supported.”