Small business owners are remaining resilient in the face of less-than-ideal economic conditions, with a new report from the National Federation of Independent Business indicating that entrepreneur confidence has hit a three-year high.

The Washington-based group observed its Optimism Index grow 0.4 points to 94.5 in February, the highest mark reported since the beginning of the recession in 2008. The NFIB was quick to note that hiring and future plans to employ more workers are also increasing, indicating that small businesses should continue to grow over the course of the year.

"This is not a reading that characterizes a strongly rebounding economy," said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. "But … it gives us cause for some real optimism. Apparently the future is looking brighter for a few more small business owners, although much will depend on what Congress does this year."

Many entrepreneurs are reaping the rewards from improvements in small business lending, which gives them the funds necessary to purchase new equipment, hire new staff and open new stores.