Small business owners are optimistic about future growth in the new year as they finish 2017 with revenue increases, according to a report from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School and Dun & Bradstreet Inc.

Small businesses, or those making less than $5 million in revenue, enter the new year anticipating growth of 9.1 percent compared to 8.7 percent a year ago, according to the fourth quarter Private Capital Access Index report from the Malibu university and the business data firm in Short Hills, N.J.

Ninety percent of small and medium sized businesses, or those with revenue up to $100 million, are confident that they will grow in 2018, compared to 80 percent in the same period from the previous year, according to the report.

Sixty-nine percent of small businesses reported they planned on hiring new employees in the next six months. Just 5 percent of small and mid-sized businesses reported that taxes and government regulations will prevent them from hiring, compared to 16 percent from a year earlier.

“While it is hard to say exactly why small and mid-sized businesses expressed less concern about taxes and regulatory policies, it is all but certain they are paying more in taxes as business improves,” said Craig R. Everett, director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project. “Media attention on the U.S. tax reform measure before Congress could be neutralizing taxes and regulations as a concern.”