American Independent Business Alliance

What is an Independent Business Alliance? 

An Independent Business Alliance® works to build vital local economies based on independent, locally-owned businesses and help local entrepreneurs compete successfully against chains, online competitors and others. IBAs unite locally-owned independent businesses, citizens and community organizations to achieve this goal. 

IBAs typically accomplish these goals through initiatives within these realms:

  1. Public education about the greater overall value local independents often can provide (even when they’re not the cheapest) as well as the vital economic, social and cultural role independent businesses play in the community. See our free primer on this topic.
  2. Facilitating cooperative promotion, IndieNash-Window-decaladvertising, purchasing, sharing of skills and resources and other activities to help local businesses gain economies of scale and compete more effectively.
  3. Creating a strong and uncompromised voice to speak for local independents in the local government and media while engaging citizens in guiding the future of their community through democratic action.
  4. Enhancing opportunities for local investment, banking and access to capital for local entrepreneurs.

Note: all benefits of AMIBA affiliation are offered to interested chambers of commerce, Main Street programs and other groups. Many cities and towns opt to form a new entity or campaign name to fulfill these goals, but that is entirely your decision (see the directory of local affiliates for examples of who joins AMIBA).


Click image for page with plain text version of criteria

Please contact AMIBA for free guidance in helping determine your definitions and criteria. Our help with these decisions can save you valuable time! Note: adopting this criteria doesn’t mean no other businesses can support your work (talk to us about how you might engage others).


Interested in exploring an IBA for your community?

AMIBA-AffiliatedLogo-sqlightWe work with organizers, whether you’re a business owner or a dedicated citizen, to get and keep you going.

Read more about starting a local alliance.

Why joining our team of local networks should be one of your first investments.


The IBA model was pioneered by AMIBA’s founders in 1998, and it has been used by communities of all sizes around the country (see About AMIBA for more).

Discover if there’s a local group affiliated with AMIBA near you (or in your travel destination) or learn if someone else in your area is interested in launching an initiative! (We’ll connect you if so.)

Independent Business Alliance is a registered mark of AMIBA and only affiliates may use the phrase in their organization’s name. Please capitalize the first letter of each word when referring to Independent Business Alliances. If you wish to include other groups that are based on the IBA model in your writing, please use a generic phrase such as “local business coalition.”

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