New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth I. Chenault launched "Small Business Saturday".
New York City is the first city in the nation to proclaim November 27th as Small Business Saturday, and Mayor Bloomberg and American Express encouraged other cities to participate.
To get the word out, American Express is launching a national advertising campaign and social media campaigns through Facebook and Twitter.
The company will give the first 10,000 business owners that sign-up $100 of free Facebook advertising to help build online buzz and drive customers to shop at their businesses.
The Mayor was joined at the announcement, which took place in the Blue Room of City Hall, by Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh.
"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," said 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 in our communities."
"Small business is the engine of job creation in the US economy," said American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth I. Chenault. "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 business success is critical to the nation's overall economy.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States last year, and over the past two decades, they've 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 350 Project.
"Supporting small business strengthens our economy and helps to create jobs and vibrant neighborhoods," said Small Business Services Commissioner Walsh. "I want to thank Ken Chenault for introducing this innovative campaign and launching it here in New York City, and also thank Mayor Bloomberg for his unwavering commitment to helping small businesses succeed. Small Business Saturday will raise awareness about the importance of shopping locally and at the same time give a boost to merchants."
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 facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday where they can participate in many ways, including:
"American Express is giving 10,000 business owners who sign up $100 of free Facebook advertising to help build online buzz and drive customers to shop at their businesses on Small Business Saturday. By 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 November 27th. Facebook has donated $500,000 in Facebook credits for these small business owners to use in the future.
American Express is also 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.
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 entrepreneurs of tomorrow.