HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A new local organization called Go Big Small Biz Network strives to give small business owners in and around Pa. a voice at the State Capital.

The new Go Big Small Biz Network was formed by a husband and wife duo, former entrepreneurs and business owners, Tracey and Jeff Wakeen. Prior to the creation of the new network, the Wakeens owned and operated a popular female fitness center in Cumberland County that at one point had 800 members.

This female fitness center later lost half of its members and was forced to shut its doors during the 2020 pandemic.

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“Like so many others, our Pennsylvania small businesses suffered greatly during the pandemic,” Tracey Wakeen said. “It was a painful lesson that small businesses have to be more involved in shaping policies. We decided to do something about it and started the Go Big Small Biz Network. We intend to provide a big voice for small business in the halls of government.”

The forming of this network was in response to the hardships many other small business owners experienced during the 2020 pandemic. According to the network, 26% of small businesses closed their doors over the course of a year and a half – additionally, 43% of small business owners as of August 2022 were unable to afford their rent.

The main goals for the Go Big Small Biz Network are to:

  • Educate
  • Advocate
  • Communicate

According to the network’s website, upon becoming a member, you will be part of a team that has lobbyist representation on “the hill” who will advocate and speak for small businesses – ensuring that your legislators are aren’t signing off on anything that could harm your business. Additionally, members will be alerted, via notification on your phone, immediately when any positive or negative legislation is being proposed regarding small businesses.

What may stand out the most with this new network is their goal of communicating on behalf of your small business as well, by helping to promote your business across the commonwealth. This will entail the usage of different media mediums such as: radio, billboards, television, and social media.

The overall goal of this communication is to encourage and promote shopping, buying, and doing business locally. According to the network, shopping locally with small businesses helps to boost the local economy – every $1 spent locally equivalates to $3 going back into your local economy.

To become a member of Go Big Small Biz Network or for more information, you can visit their website at www.gobigsmallbiz.com or email them at membership@gobigsmallbiz.com.

According to the network, there are currently more than 1 million small businesses in Pa., which makes up 90% of all businesses across the keystone state.