HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WENY) --The Chemung County Chamber of Commerce kicked off the National Small Business Week on Monday, May 1st. The weeklong celebration is designed to recognize the importance of small businesses in the Southern Tier. 

“We are here to honor small businesses and all the hard work they do for our community and the services they provide for our community,” said Joe Roman executive director for the Chemung County IDA and Southern Tier Economic Growth.  

Small businesses make up 98 percent of the businesses across the Empire State, employing 40 percent of the private sector workforce. From mom and pops gift shops to nail salons - the Chamber wants to celebrate these businesses as pillars of the community. 

“Small business owners and workers demonstrated incredible courage and resilience adapting to sudden changes and stepping up to serve our community,” said Jennifer Furman Department County Executive. 

During "National Small Business Week," business owners like Karen Harris of Massage by Karren say they feel supported by not only her clients and customers but organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. 

“Chemung County Chamber has always offered educational things for us. This week they are really filling it up with a lot of different information and small businesses need to know some of this," said Harris.  

Small businesses are a huge support to the Southern Tier Kit GooShaw of Lighthouse Liquors and Wines or Southport said.  

“Well, we are a backbone to the community. We employ several people. We offer services locally,” said Gooshaw.

Throughout this week. the chamber will launch a social media campaign, provide educational courses and give awards to small businesses in the area.