Strengthening Independent Business, Empowering Citizens, Refocusing Government
Strengthening Independent Business
Resident-owned businesses have greater opportunity to start and thrive within a culture of collaboration and strong community support. AMIBA helps communities organize to build a culture of support for local entrepreneurs that expands opportunity and yields more durable prosperity. In addition to Independent Business Alliances® formed explicitly for the purpose, we help local chambers, downtown organizations and others achieve these goals by serving as a communication hub, mentoring and support center. See the diverse range of communities affiliated with AMIBA.
AMIBA is building a strong, uncompromised voice to represent independent business in the media and shift corporate-created paradigms. We cultivate collaborative relationships with NGOs and independent trade associations to build the Localization Movement and shift policy and practice while uniting IBAs across communities.
AMIBA informs people of the power their spending decisions have in shaping their communities as well as the necessity of acting as citizens to shape public policy and procedures. Informed citizens are more likely to engage as stewards of their communities and the businesses owned by their neighbors. We provide extensive tools and guidance to help people drive local shifts in culture, spending and policy.
When governments make resident-owned businesses the keystone of economic development, they can create an environment for entrepreneurs to thrive and build greater opportunity for all. Community-level action can reshape thinking and policy locally as we work with allies to network these efforts and drive broader systemic change.
AMIBA built local advocacy into the Independent Business Alliance model, and it’s a core element of the new Grow with AMIBA program. Imagine the broad potential when hundreds of pro-local groups work with local government to enact positive, replicable policy and practice! Ultimately, we will build a pro-community, pro-equity, pro-entrepreneur counter-force to bastions like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that push for greater corporate power and monopolization. We will partner with allies to turn political platitudes of supporting small business into reality.
AMIBA – led Initiatives
In addition to supporting grassroots organizations, AMIBA leads initiatives like these:
Building a Business Voice for Inclusion and Equity
Our Business Against Bigotry initiative engages business owners and citizens not just to counter words and deeds that victimize and oppress, but to become leaders in building more inclusive, equitable, and welcoming communities.
We are expanding our offering of Movement thought leaders with expertise in advocacy, board development, “buy local” campaigns, economic justice, local food systems, grassroots marketing, antitrust policy and more. Whether you’re seeking a speaker for a trade show or a community event, we likely have great options for the topics you seek to address.
New! Fulfilling Local Needs Through Community Ownership
Too many people are unable to buy fresh groceries or basic household needs without burdensome travel. Many communities are wholly dependent on absentee-owned corporations for their media, broadband and other essential services. The forthcoming Center for Community Ownership will help people incubate, nurture and network community-owned businesses to fill local needs and empower residents.
In late 1997 two Boulder, Colorado residents — David Bolduc of the Boulder Book Store and Jeff Milchen, now co-director of AMIBA, convened discussions with other residents to discuss how to prevent the trend of absentee-owned chains displacing local businesses could be prevented locally. Just weeks later, the first Independent Business Alliance was born, advancing a proactive strategy for helping the community preserve its character and sustain local entrepreneurs.
The initial sell for an untested idea was tough, but once several of the community’s landmark businesses were convinced to join, attracting others became easier. After two years the Boulder IBA had built a coalition of 150 businesses and non-profits and succeeded in creating a cultural shift supporting local independent business through public education and advocacy, while also helping local entrepreneurs directly through facilitating group purchasing and marketing initiatives.
Being local became hip. Non-affiliated businesses and even franchises began using “local” as a marketing tool. Culture and habits were shifting.
After responding to dozens of inquiries from other communities about the IBA model, Milchen and then-assistant director Jennifer Rockne went on to found AMIBA to fulfill the growing demand for help and work toward larger-scale change to shift policy that favors global corporations over small business. AMIBA works to build a pro-community, pro-equity, pro-entrepreneur counterforce to bastions like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that push to increase corporate power and monopolization. We partner with allies to turn political platitudes of supporting small business into reality.
AMIBA is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization. Donations are fully tax-deductible and comprise an essential portion of our funding, along with affiliation dues, speaking honoraria, sales of educational merchandise and other forms of earned income.
AMIBA Policies and Documents:
- IRS determination letter (pdf)
- AMIBA’s Commitment to Inclusion and Nondiscrimination
- Conflict of Interest Policy
- Record Retention and Access Policy
- Whistleblower Protection Policy
- Equal Opportunity Employment Policy
We will gladly provide Spanish versions of any AMIBA materials at your request. See Recursos de AMIBA en Español for already-published articles and resources.