Alaska Small Business Development Center

2017 Alaska Small Business Survey Report

March 2, 2018

Our first annual Alaska SBDC Small Business Survey reveals resilience in Alaska’s small business sector

View the reportThe Alaska Small Business Development Center (Alaska SBDC) is pleased to announce the results of our first annual Alaska Small Business Survey. As the first small business survey of its kind, responses from more than 350 Alaska SBDC clients from across the state uncovered a wealth of valuable – and sometimes surprising – insights into Alaska’s vast and growing small business sector.

Topics covered in this report include jobs, accessibility of capital, and economic health.

“I believe that the resilience and innovative thinking displayed by Alaska’s small businesses will continue to allow this sector of our economy to grow and thrive in the coming years.”
– Jon Bittner, Alaska SBDC Executive Director

One of the most surprising observations this survey uncovered was the resiliency and optimism displayed by many of Alaska’s small businesses, despite the state’s continuing recession. This optimism was demonstrated by the more than 94% of small business owners who indicated they plan to increase or maintain their staff over the next year. There was also a significant number of respondents who said they plan to seek new capital in order to expand operations, create a new product or service, or invest in new equipment.

On the other hand, the survey also revealed several significant hurdles for small businesses to overcome. Issues such as finding funding, recruiting qualified employees and overcoming the state’s long-term economic challenges were all recurrent concerns.

“I think these results show that there is still a lot to be optimistic about in Alaska’s economic future,” said Alaska SBDC Executive Director Jon Bittner. “I believe that the resilience and innovative thinking displayed by Alaska’s small businesses will continue to allow this sector of our economy to grow and thrive in the coming years.”

More than 99% of Alaska businesses are defined as “small businesses” under the federal guidelines established by the Small Business Administration. Further, small businesses employ more than 55% of Alaska’s workforce and represent over 75% of the state’s exporters, making small businesses instrumental to Alaska’s economy.

Read the full 2017 Alaska Small Business Survey report (pdf).

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