May is Small Business Month, a time to recognize the impact small businesses have on the country.

Small businesses are considered the driving force of the U.S. economy. Companies with fewer than 500 employees make up more than 99 percent of U.S. employer firms and account for about 64 percent of new private sector jobs. While large firms are equally important in helping support small businesses and their communities, smaller companies are considered the job creators.

President and CEO of the Central Michigan University Research Corporation Erin Strang says the success of a small business is based, in large part, on the relationships it develops. She says the network surrounding an individual company helps give it a solid foundation from which to thrive. If that company later develops into a large business, it’s likely to remain in that community thanks to those relationships, according to Strang.