Small businesses have always been a cornerstone of the American economy. Since 1995, small businesses have created 64% of new jobs, and 44% of total private payroll. Small businesses also account for over 50% of high-tech employment in the United States. More than boosting local economies by creating jobs, encouraging entrepreneurship and directing funds toward innovation — small businesses are about building personal connections amongst consumers, establishing a sense of loyalty that unites people from all walks of life who share the same desires.
In today’s enterprise economy, where people are empowered to build businesses and have immediate access to an abundance of resources, the importance of supporting small businesses is more evident than ever. Few initiatives express the truth of this sentiment more tangibly than Small Business Saturday.
Kicking off the Holiday shopping season, sitting between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday stands as American Express’ largest and longest running campaign. In 2014, the National Federation of Retail Sales estimated a staggering $616.9 billion in retail spending between the months of November and December. According to a study conducted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Small Business Saturday generated an estimated $5.7 billion nationwide in 2013 alone. Since 2014, over 1.6 million new merchant locations have been officially included in Small Business Saturday.
This year, American Express joined forces with four-time world champion and NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal for the Shop Small campaign, encouraging card holders to spend with small businesses and earn double rewards in return. In a series of funny short-form videos, Shaq invites celebrity friends to check out local storefronts in different cities across the country. The adds a humorous twist to highlighting the important role these companies play in advancing the economy. “Shaq is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, and we’re stoked to be working with him to help encourage people to support small businesses this holiday season,” stated Brad Minor, VP of Global Brand Partnerships and Experiential Marketing at American Express.
In the first installment, Shaq is joined by Grammy Award-Winning emcee Kendrick Lamar at Soaptopia in Los Angeles, where the two tested soap scents, created their own, and completed a casual yet comedic local shopping experience.