First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. On Nov. 27, 2010, comes Small Business Saturday[SM], a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. This year's first-ever Small Business Saturday is a national movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S.
Joining GoodBiz113 ad partner American Express OPEN, the company’s small-business unit, in declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday, are an initial group of more than a dozen advocacy, public and private organizations, including:
* The 3/50 Project
* Business Matchmaking
* Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau
* Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence
* Destination DC
* Girls Inc.
* Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau
* LA INC. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau
* National Association of Women Business Owners [NAWBO]
* National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center
* New York City Department of Small Business Services
* NYC & Company
* San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau
* SCORE: Counselors to America's Small Businesses
* Women Impacting Public Policy
* Women’s Leadership Exchange
* Women President’s Organization
American Express Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth I. Chenault will launch the nationwide program later today with New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Small Businesses Rock!
Small businesses are critical to the nation’s overall economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA], there were nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States last year. Over the past two decades, they created 65 percent of net new jobs.
Their importance to local communities extends even further. For every $100 spent in locally owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures, according to the small-business advocacy group The 3/50 Project.
"Small business is the engine of job creation in the U.S. economy," said Mr. Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer, American Express. "It is also among the sectors hardest-hit by the recession. By spreading the word about Small Business Saturday, we can help raise awareness about the critical role small businesses play in cities and towns across the country at a time when they need support the most."
"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the glue that holds communities together, and we’ve always sought new ways to support them -- something that became even more important when the national economic downturn began," noted Mayor Bloomberg. "When Ken Chenault told me about his idea for Small Business Saturday, I jumped at the opportunity to participate.
"We’ve all heard about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, if you have the opportunity to shop on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, make it a point to visit local small businesses. It really can make an enormous difference for merchants trying to succeed."
Joining the Movement
Social media will play a central role in helping raise awareness about the importance of supporting small business and recognizing Small Business Saturday. American Express is launching campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, driving consumers and business owners to http://www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday, where they can participate in many ways -- including:
* American Express is giving a $25 statement credit to 100,000 Cardmembers who register their Card and use it to shop on Small Business Saturday at any locally owned, independent small businesses that accept American Express.
* American Express is also giving $100 of free Facebook advertising to 10,000 business owners who sign up at http://www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday to help build online buzz and drive customers to shop at their businesses on Small Business Saturday. By simply entering a few pieces of information and clicking a button, these business owners can create a personalized, geo-targeted ad that will run on Facebook leading up to Nov. 27. Facebook has donated $500,000 in Facebook credits for these small-business owners to use in the future.
* Small-business owners can also download online promotional materials and use a number of social-media tools to promote their businesses on the inaugural Small Business Saturday.
* Everyone can spread the word about the day and their favorite businesses by giving a shout-out to their favorite local shops and restaurants via Facebook and Twitter.
* For every person who "likes" Small Business Saturday on Facebook, American Express is donating $1 up to $500,000 to Girls Inc., to empower young women to be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
To support Small Business Saturday, American Express is also launching a national advertising campaign.
"Supporting local business is more than just a one-day event, and Small Business Saturday is a movement we can all help sustain," Chenault added. "We encourage consumers across the country to join us and the many advocates that are already on board."
Who Has Joined the Movement?
An initial group of more than a dozen advocacy, public and private organizations are thus far part of the Small Business Saturday movement.
"The 3/50 Project is pleased to be joining American Express OPEN on Small Business Saturday," said Cinda Baxter, founder of The 3/50 Project. "According to a recent survey, 90 percent of consumers are willing to pledge support for a buy-local-small-business initiative. So, I ask everyone to pledge their support for Small Business Saturday and to shop exclusively with independent stores on Nov. 27."
The 3/50 Project encourages consumers to pick three locally owned, independent brick-and-mortar businesses they can’t live without, and commit to spending $50 per month across the three businesses -- in addition to all of the other spending they do.
"When we invest in small businesses, we are investing in Main Streets -- the places that give our towns and cities a unique sense of place," said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which includes the National Trust Main Street Center. "By celebrating Small Business Saturday and shopping at independent businesses, everyone can play a part in strengthening our economy and supporting revitalization on our Main Streets."
The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center is a preservation-based economic development program that helps more than 2,000 communities nationally revitalize their historic and traditional commercial districts by leveraging local assets.
For more information on the movement, visit http://facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday or http://www.smallbusinesssaturday.com/.
American Express OPEN
American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses in the United States, and supports business owners with products and services to help them run and grow their businesses. This includes business charge and credit cards that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, rewards, savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners, plus online tools and services designed to help improve profitability.
Learn more at http://www.open.com/ and connect at http://www.openforum.com/, http://www.facebook.com/open and http://twitter.com/openforum.
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at http://www.americanexpress.com/, and connect on http://www.facebook.com/americanexpress, http://twitter.com/americanexpress and http://www.youtube.com/americanexpress.
The 3/50 Project
The 3/50 Project [http://www.the350project.net/] is a grass-roots awareness campaign focused on reuniting consumers and independent, locally owned brick-and-mortar businesses in their communities.
Begun in March 2009 as an off-the-cuff blog post written by Minneapolis retail expert, Cinda Baxter, The 3/50 Project asks consumers to return to three local businesses they love and don’t want to lose, then to commit $50 of their current monthly budget toward local, independent merchants.
The message went viral via social media, exploding onto the national stage as a unique, positive and achievable concept. Launch of http://www.the350project.net/ and its companion Facebook page have since garnered international support from small-business owners and consumers alike.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Center
Established in 1980 as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Trust Main Street Center is the nation’s largest commercial district revitalization organization. The Center provides information, offers technical assistance, holds conferences and workshops, and conducts research and advocacy on critical revitalization issues in order to best serve the communities and individuals interested in revitalizing traditional commercial districts.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation [http://www.preservationnation.org/] is a nonprofit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history -- and the important moments of everyday life -- took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development, and promote environmental sustainability.
SOURCES: American Express OPEN, National Trust for Historic Preservation, The 3/50 Project, U.S. Small Business Administration
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