American small business owners have weathered cascading economic storms over the past 5 years: COVID-19, supply chain disruptions, staffing shortages, inflation, and more. But through these challenges, small business owners have found paths to resilience in part due to the edge provided by the technology platforms that empower efficiency, access to customers, deep insights, and the ability to thrive. This technology-enabled success has made meaningful contributions to communities and the broader U.S. economy.

To measure the effect that a diverse range of technology platforms has had on small businesses and the economy, the Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC), working with Teneo Research, conducted a nation-wide survey and econometric analysis of the U.S. small business ecosystem. What we found is that technology is a driver of economic success for small businesses and that policymakers must encourage an environment that enables all businesses to succeed with digital tools.

Take a deep-dive into the polling of the American public. As a supplement to C_TEC’s national survey of small business owners, this survey explores: 

  • How Americans are using technology to engage with businesses
  • The public’s interest in adopting advanced technology, including acceptance of AI in their daily lives
  • Americans’ priorities for future regulation of technology including:
    • National online privacy laws
    • The regulation of AI
    • Limiting the use of tailored advertising 

Since 2020 small businesses that incorporate technology platforms are more likely to see growth in their sales, profits, and employment

The most prevalent use of technology across American small businesses is the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Women, minority, and veteran-owned businesses have high adoption rates of tech and are highly optimistic about the role technology will play in their businesses’ futures.

Small businesses plan to continue to increase investments in their use of technology platforms across their business in the next two to three years.

93% of small businesses are using at least one technology platform

$17.7 trillion and more than 99 million jobs are supported by small businesses when they use technology

86% of small businesses say technology helped their business survive during COVID.

Policy Recommendations

With 4 in 5 small businesses stating that limiting access to data could be harmful to their operations, it is vital that Congress pass a national privacy law that protects all Americans equally. Small businesses are disproportionately impacted by compliance costs.

Many small businesses depend on Section 230 of the Communications Act to provide their services over the internet while avoiding costly and burdensome litigation expenses. Congress should reject calls to outright repeal this landmark law. 

Congress should refrain from passing competition legislation that singles out particular companies for enforcement and those that deprive the companies that offer small business the tools that are making them competitive of due process. 

Small businesses using third-party delivery have benefited in terms of growth, employment, and revenue. Government should not impose limitations on flexible work by misclassifying gig economy participants or preventing app-based delivery companies from communicating legitimate earnings and flexible opportunities to the public. 

For small businesses to fully see the benefits of AI technology, the United States must adopt a robust national AI strategy that addresses the workforce, rules for AI, and global competition. 

Government must promote a 21st century workforce that includes small business owners such as making investments in STEM and computer science education to prepare the next generation of digital tool developers. 

Broadband access is essential for small businesses to utilize many digital tools and connect with consumers across the country. Policymakers must make targeted investments in high-speed broadband in unserved areas and address broadband affordability for low-income Americans.

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