CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn and American Express today announced a new initiative to help support the more than 500,000 small businesses, retailers and merchants in Illinois. Consumers are encouraged to use the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 27, between “Black Friday“ and “Cyber Monday” – traditionally two of the busiest shopping days of the year – to patronize local merchants around the state.
“As thousands of people across Illinois begin their holiday shopping over the weekend, I encourage them to patronize local shops and restaurants. By supporting our local merchants on ‘Small Business Saturday,’ we are investing in our local economies,” said Governor Quinn. “It is important that we continue doing everything we can to help small businesses succeed because they are the key to keeping our economy moving forward and putting more people to work.”
“Small business is the engine of job creation in the U.S. economy,” said American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth I. Chenault. “It is also among the sectors hardest hit by the recession. By spreading the word about Small Business Saturday, we can help raise awareness about the critical role small businesses play in cities and towns across the country at a time when they need support the most.”
Small business success is critical to the nation's overall economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States last year, and over the past two decades, they've created 65 percent of new jobs. For every $100 spent in locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures, according to the small business advocacy group The 350 Project.
“If every small business in Illinois was able to create one additional job, we'd lower the unemployment rate five points," said the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley. "'Small Business Saturday' continues our statewide efforts to boost locally-owned businesses and strengthen local supply chains.”
DCEO has spent the past year developing ways to better support small business, including adding more services and sector specialties at Illinois Small Business Development Centers; performing an academic study of the retail sector coming out of the recession, and the impact of buy local activities statewide; and hosting focus groups of small business owners and economic development professionals on the best use of the state's small business resources.
Earlier this year, Governor Quinn proposed and signed into law the Illinois Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit. The $2,500 tax credit is available to businesses with 50 or fewer employees (including all locations) that create new jobs between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.
For more information on the state’s small business resources, visit www.ildceo.net.