carousel | January 13, 2017

Why Small Businesses, Not Big Companies, May Be the Future of Employment

The team at


President-elect Trump has claimed some high-profile job wins with big companies. But the future of employment is in small businesses.

Carrier, Fiat, Ford and others have all recently pledged to create or keep jobs in the U.S. “I think a lot of industries are going to be coming back,” Trump declared at his press conference. But big companies and big factories aren’t going to revitalize local economies across the Midwest and Appalachia, where jobs have been lost to global markets and technological advances.

A thousand companies with four employees each may be more beneficial than four companies with a thousand employees. Over the last 25 years, while big business left town with 4 million U.S. jobs, small businesses created eight million new jobs.

“Our entrepreneurs see far too much employment in rural areas being dominated by a few large players,” Ross Baird, CEO of Village Capital, a startup accelerator and venture capital firm that operates outside the usual tracks of Silicon Valley, told FastCoExist. “So when a manufacturing or coal plant shuts down, a large, large number of people lose jobs.”

Baird points to small-town companies like beer maker New Belgium Brewery, based in Fort Collins, Colorado and Asheville North Carolina, which is employee-owned. Or Kentucky-based Fin Gourmet, which creates local jobs by helping fisherman catch and process Asian carp, an invasive fish species. “The future of the rural economy is going to be much more stable and robust if the emphasis is on small businesses and entrepreneurs than if the emphasis is on large industries,” he says.

Photo credit: New Belgium Brewery