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Press release from Business Wire

American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and American Express Partner to Enable More “Buy Local” Initiatives in Communities across America

<ul> <li class='bwlistitemmargb'> <i>Free Resources for Communities Interested in Building a “Buy Local” Campaign</i> </li> <li class='bwlistitemmargb'> <i>AMIBA Announces Support of Small Business Saturday 2012</i> </li> </ul>

Thursday, August 16, 2012

American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and American Express Partner to Enable More “Buy Local” Initiatives in Communities across America12:17 EDT Thursday, August 16, 2012 NEW YORK (Business Wire) -- American Express (AXP), the founding partner of Small Business Saturday, today announced the company has joined forces with the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) to enable more small businesses and community groups to successfully launch “buy local” campaigns throughout the United States in order to inspire people to “shop small” all year around. AMIBA is a non-profit organization that helps communities launch and successfully operate buy local campaigns and broader Independent Business Alliances® (IBAs) – coalitions of locally-owned independent businesses, citizens and community organizations that work to build vital local economies and support local entrepreneurs. As part of the partnership, AMIBA and American Express will host as many as 20 training events beginning in September through May 2013 to help communities and merchant coalitions develop an effective “buy local” infrastructure with the goal of catalyzing local action and enabling successful long-term organizing on behalf of local small businesses. Upcoming presentation and training events include: Sept 25 – 28, 2012 for Oregon and Washington Oct 8 – 13, 2012 for New England area and New York Oct 15 – 18, 2012 for Mid-Atlantic States Nov 5 – 9, 2012 for California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah More events will be added throughout the year. “These community events greatly increase the likelihood of local success in the critical start-up phase for local campaigns and alliances,” said Jennifer Rockne, AMIBA's co-founder. “Through our partnership with American Express, more communities now will be able to access these trainings. American Express is playing a key role in helping ‘buy local' initiatives succeed.” “American Express' collaboration with AMIBA advances a shared goal – to support America's independent small businesses,” said Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, senior vice president, American Express OPEN. “Our joint efforts will lead to many new local alliances that will help raise awareness of the value small businesses bring to communities and motivate consumers to ‘shop small' all year around – including on Small Business Saturday.” AMIBA will also develop “Train the Trainer” programs in 2012 to expand the ranks of qualified facilitators. These facilitators ultimately will lead training events for hundreds of small business owners and advocates to spur more pro-local business initiatives. In addition, AMIBA and American Express have produced a primer to give small business owners and advocates guidance on how to successfully nurture a culture of support for local business within their community. This twelve-page illustrated magazine outlines the steps for business owners to effectively implement outreach through one's own business as well as initiate community-wide campaigns. Copies of the primers are available upon request from AMIBA. This year, AMIBA is a proud supporter of Small Business Saturday and will distribute tools to help local retailers more effectively market themselves to encourage consumers to shop at small businesses on November 24, 2012. American Express initiated the national program in 2010 in response to small business owners' most pressing need: more demand for their products and services. Supported by President Obama and elected officials in all 50 states, Small Business Saturday spurred an estimated 103 million Americans to shop at independently-owned small businesses in 2011. About the American Independent Business Alliance American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) is a non-profit organization helping communities successfully operate programs to support community-based enterprise and entrepreneurism, build local wealth and create a culture of support for local business. AMIBA has helped more than 80 communities and organizations implement the most impactful and cost-effective "buy local" campaigns through local trainings, a wide range of templates and tools, and expert guidance. Independent Business Alliances employing the full range of tools offered by AMIBA have enjoyed success in cities and towns of all sizes and circumstances. Learn more at AMIBA.net. About Small Business Saturday November 24th marks the third annual Small Business Saturday, a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday (SBS) was created in 2010 in response to small business owners' most pressing need: more customers. More than 2.7 million Facebook users, 230 public and private organizations, 75 corporations and elected officials in all 50 states and Washington D.C. declared their support for SBS last year. More than 500,000 small business owners leveraged an online tool or promotional materials for SBS, 15,000 businesses signed up for free Facebook advertising to promote their products and services in the run up to SBS, and hundreds of thousands of consumers registered their American Express cards to receive $25 statement credits when they shopped at a small business on SBS. American Express is the founding sponsor of SBS. About 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 and online tools and services designed to help improve profitability. Learn more at www.OPEN.com and connect with us at openforum.com and 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 www.americanexpress.com and connect with us on www.facebook.com/americanexpress, www.twitter.com/americanexpress and www.youtube.com/americanexpress. National Contact:American Express OPENScott Krugman; Director of Public Affairs212-640-3244scott.b.krugman@aexp.comorAmerican Independent Business AllianceJeff Milchen; Co-founder406-582-1255Jeff@AMIBA.netorM BoothMoon Kim; for American Express OPEN212-539-3285moonk@mbooth.com