The Small Business Saturday Coalition (SBSC), the national grassroots initiative for Small Business Saturday, has announced that promotional efforts in 2016 resulted in the highest level of engagement since its founding from members of Congress, mayors, federal agencies and business organizations who encouraged Americans to shop small on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

“The sheer volume of people who supported small businesses this year is amazing,” said Jane Campbell, president of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). “Thousands of events were held across the nation, and hundreds of people, agencies and organizations — from the president, his cabinet and members of Congress, to mayors and organizations across the country — came together to promote Small Business Saturday and the hard-working men and women running the businesses that power our economy.”

WIPP, in conjunction with American Express and partners, founded the SBSC in 2011. Last year marked the seventh Small Business Saturday, coordinated by American Express in partnership with WIPP and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The Coalition helps engage communities across the country for the event. Every year, WIPP works with hundreds of organizations and thousands of small businesses to encourage all Americans to “shop small” at local businesses and “dine small” at local restaurants and bars. “Shopping and dining small on Small Business Saturday and throughout [the] holiday season supports these men and women who are building and running America’s best small businesses,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

This year, 6,700 events and activities celebrating the day were held nationwide.

Since its founding, the SBSC has increased engagement exponentially: organizational engagement has nearly doubled, growing from 249 organizations supporting the initiative in 2011 to 486 last year; engagement of members of Congress has more than tripled, growing from 80 supporting members in the inaugural year to 266 in 2016. Engagement constitutes various ways in which an organization, entity or individual helps to amplify Small Business Saturday.

In 2016 alone, the Coalition secured the following types of engagement from the following supporters.

  • The president and seven cabinet members: media/social media promoting the day
  • 14 federal agencies: media/social media promoting the day
  • 67 senators: signed the Small Business Saturday Senate Resolution and/or promoted the day through media/social media
  • 199 members of the House of Representatives: signed the House Small Business Saturday Resolution and/or promoted the day through media/social media
  • 651 mayors: issued proclamations
  • 486 business and advocacy organizations: supported/amplified Small Business Saturday

“Each year the level of engagement grows and grows. I expect next year to be no different,” Campbell said. “Small businesses are the backbone of our country. Supporting them is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do to ensure a thriving economy.”