Strength in Numbers, October 2016

Strength in Numbers, October 2016

bobcatCitizens Filling Local Needs Through Shared Vision & Investment

One of AMIBA’s newest projects is helping communities support themselves and meet their own needs without dependence on outside developers. Community-owned businesses commonly form in rural areas where large chain grocers or “superstores” have opened many miles away and driven out small-town grocers or merchants, leaving residents with no place in town to buy necessities.

While a local entrepreneur is unlikely to try competing in such circumstances, community ownership can be a game-changer because it shifts people’s consciousness — it creates the opportunity for residents to buy from their own store. We think this model also can play a key role in urban “food deserts.”

Amy Campbell previously directed Sustain-a-Bull, an AMIBA-affiliated organization serving Durham, NC. Now in an MBA program at Bard College, Amy is leading this project to identify best practices, common challenges, and resources to help spread the creation of community-owned businesses. Learn more (including the distinctions between coops and community ownership) here.

AMIBA Helps Defend Election Integrity in U.S. Appeals Court Dispute

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will decide soon whether to uphold perhaps the strongest state election integrity law in the U.S. (Montana’s). AMIBA again is joining with allies to defend states’ ability to prevent big money “donors” from corrupting elections and gaining favor at the expense of small businesses and all but the wealthiest citizens. We’re pleased to join Free Speech For People, the Indian Law Resource Center and friends in submitting a brief to the court defending the law.

Small Ranchers Take on Giants in Court

R-CALF, an organization representing the interests of small ranchers, is in court this week attempting to stop agribusiness giants from forcing ranchers to pay for marketing campaigns portraying all beef as a generic commodity. All ranchers are forced to pay $1 per head to Beef Checkoff, which does not distinguish factory-farmed or imported beef from the range-raised domestic beef of independent R-CALF members.

Unique Eugene: Evolving for Greater Effectiveness

AMIBA affiliate Unique Eugene formed more than 16 years ago. This small merchants association is reorganizing to become a larger, more broadly inclusive Independent Businesses Alliance.

New Rules Widen Opportunity for Crowdfunding Initiatives


Image and article via Locavesting

Local and alternative investment advocates received good news Wednesday when the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted rule changes to make crowdfunding across state lines and advertising crowdfunding opportunities easier. These rule changes are a boon to local entrepreneurs seeking to gain critical start-up or expansion funds, particularly if they may be challenged securing more traditional sources.

Welcome to Four New AMIBA Affiliates!

Minnesota Indian Business Alliance, Detroit Lakes, MN
New Baltimore Business Alliance, New Baltimore, MI
Lawton Independent Business Alliance, Lawton, OK
Local 1st Minot, Minot, ND (website coming soon)

American Express Sponsorship Yields Big Opportunity for Small Business Coalitions

axp_bb_grad_rgbWe’re thrilled to announce that American Express has renewed underwriting, allowing communities to host presentations and workshops from AMIBA during the coming year at a fraction of the normal cost! In addition to sponsoring Small Business Saturday for the 7th year, AmEx has invested in supporting the grassroots organizing of local business coalitions for four years running.

Community trainings with AMIBA speakers and facilitators can help boost your local organizing, generate new energy, build your funding and increase your effectiveness. See a menu of popular workshop topics, keynotes and more. Along with community events, AMIBA speakers provide keynotes and breakouts for conferences (see previous hosts) that are both memorable and actionable! Contact us online or at 406-582-1255 to learn more.

Holiday Campaign Resources

Don’t forget to take advantage of the opportunities created by Small Business Saturday and the free resources American Express offers to Neighborhood Champions.

And be sure to see our large and growing collection of activity ideas, how-to guides and free graphics to promote your local businesses through the holidays, including Plaid Friday, Small Business Saturday, Shift Your Shopping & more. If you’ve done something different you think is worth sharing, please tell us about it!

Giving Tuesday

Independent Businesses aren’t the only entities sustaining the unique qualities of communities across the country; local nonprofits play a big role, too, and they need your support!

Giving Tuesday falls on November 29th this year — just three days after Small Business Saturday. Perhaps you can successfully connect the two? In 2015, donors contributed over $116 million to non-profit organizations, and we encourage you to chip in to beat that record in 2016. Of course, if there’s an Independent Business Alliance in your area, we encourage you to include them (IBA leaders — find out how your group can accept tax-deductible gifts through AMIBA’s fiscal sponsorship program). And tax-deductible gifts to AMIBA help advance the mission of helping communities thrive across the continent!

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