Small business owners worry. That’s just what they do. They worry about money, taxes, customers, workers — just about everything.

That’s because they put everything on the line. They aren’t working with someone else’s money. They may not have investors. If they succeed or fail, they only have themselves to thank, or blame.

It takes guts to be a small business owner. And thankfully, we have more and more people willing to take the risk.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans own or work for a small business. Each year, these entrepreneurs help create two out of every three new jobs in the United States.

The Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which is nationally recognized for supporting and studying entrepreneurship, recently published its 2019 Indicators of Entrepreneurship. It found California leading the pack in all categories: new entrepreneurs who created a business by choice, instead of necessity, 87 percent, compared to 84 percent nationally; percentage of population starting a new business, 0.44 percent, compared to 0.33 percent; average jobs created by a startup in its first year, 6.56, compared to 5.27; and startups still active after one year, 82.33 percent, compared to 79.78 percent.

The advisory assistance provided by Small Business Development Centers, such as the one at Cal State Bakersfield, is helping local small businesses with that success.

The Small Business Development Center at CSUB is one of five service centers within the University of California, Central California SBDC Regional Network, which is a partnership between the university and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The center at CSUB assists small business owners in Kern, Inyo and Mono counties by providing free consulting, small business training and research. For more information, go to

During the SBA’s Small Business Week through Saturday, the Small Business Development Center, in conjunction with community groups, is honoring eight Kern County businesses that are setting an entrepreneurial example. The “Business of the Year” honorees include:

R&M Farms, MagdaElena Martin, Agricultural; Taqueria Tampico Restaurant, Emiliano Salgado, Family-Owned; Bako Enterprises, Justin Pratt, Innovative; Flourishing Art, Oleta Collins, Outstanding; Hidey Socks, Shannon Kehrer, Rising Star; Cyrus Moon MD, Technology; and Kern Endocrine Center of Centric Health, Theresa Greenhaw and Michael Bowers, Women-Owned.

Small Business Week was established nearly six decades ago by presidential proclamation to honor America’s top entrepreneurs.

“We are extremely proud to honor America’s most successful small businesses during National Small Business Week,” said former SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. “These small business owners have shown tremendous dedication and perseverance. They are the job creators that fuel our economy and best represent the nation’s 30 million small businesses.”

According to the spring 2019 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, U.S. entrepreneurs continue to project a strong business outlook. Although health care costs and the “political environment” topped the list of small business owners’ concerns, 2018 was overall a good year. And small business owners’ outlook over the next 12 months remains strong.

Of the 1,500 small business owners surveyed by the Bank of America, 67 percent said they plan to expand their businesses, 59 percent believe their revenue will increase, 24 percent plan to hire and 12 percent plan to apply for a loan.

An estimated three out of 1,000 people nationwide become entrepreneurs every month. That leaves the remaining 997 of us to fill roles that support their efforts.

We all have parts to play to assure the success of the small businesses that are critical to keeping America’s economy strong and growing. We can be their mentors, investors and customers. We can patronize local small businesses and encourage our families and friends to do the same.

“Too many communities concentrate on attracting businesses from afar, instead of growing them at home,” noted the Kauffman Foundation, referring to the 238 cities that invested huge efforts in vying for Amazon’s second headquarters project only to be left empty-handed.

Communities cannot wait for a corporation, like Amazon, or others to be their saviors, solve problems or create new businesses. They must grow their own.

The Small Business Development Center at CSUB is helping Kern, Inyo and Mono counties grow their own.

Kelly Bearden is the director of the Small Business Development Center at California State University Bakersfield.