NEW YORK - With May being National Small Business Month, the social and shopping network OpenSky and several partners have launched The Small Business Breakthrough, a national movement to celebrate, recognize and promote small businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States.
"Consumers are moving away from the mass market retailers and brands," said John Caplan, founder and CEO of OpenSky. "It's time to celebrate the entrepreneurs that make this country great."
On May, 2, OpenSky and its partners -- Dotbox, Dwolla, Edison Nation, Goodsie, Kabbage, Mad Mimi, Martha Stewart's American Made, Patch, ShopKeep POS, and Xero -- launched a nation-wide call to action encouraging consumers to help their favorite small businesses break through the noise created by big box brands and grow. Consumers can do this by visiting www.SBBreakthrough.com to nominate small businesses for a Breakthrough Award and then sharing their nominated business with friends via social media using the hashtag #SBBreakThru.
According to a recent survey by Harris Interactive, consumers are passionate about supporting small businesses, with 53% preferring to buy products from small independent businesses than from big box retailers and 64% preferring to buy a product that is unique and different rather than mass-produced.
The Small Business Breakthrough can facilitate that support by empowering consumers to make a meaningful impact on the economy and their favorite small business by sharing word-of-mouth recommendations with friends, something most small business owners say still drives the most growth for their brand.
"I've never met anyone that wants to stand up and celebrate corporate big box retailers or brands but everyone does want to stand up and celebrate their neighbors; the entrepreneurs, the business builders, the artisans that are our future," said Louis Foreman, CEO of Edison Nation.
"Small businesses are the fabric of America and what fuels much of this country's growth," said Jason Richelson, CEO and Founder of ShopKeep POS and a former-retailer himself. "It's time we celebrate our neighborhood businesses and empower them with the tools they need to grow and build for the future."
Breakthrough Award Prizes presented by the partners include:
A $5,000 grant from OpenSky to help further business growth in 2013 and an advisory session with the company's executive team. An e-commerce discovery audit by Dotbox and an advisory session with a Dotbox executive. An Apple iPod Touch loaded with the Dwolla app or help from Dwolla to create a plug in to easily accept Dwolla as online payment and an advisory session with the company's executive team. A one-year Insider Membership to Edison Nation and an advisory session with an Edison Nation executive on implementing and adopting open innovation strategies to grow your business A one year Pro Plan from email marketing provider Mad Mimi. A year of free POS system software from ShopKeep and ClearInsight and an advisory session with a ShopKeep executive. One year free subscription to beautiful online accounting software from Xero and an advisory session with a Xero executive.
Breakthrough Awards winners will be selected by a panel of judges representing The Small Business Breakthrough partner organizations. Judges will select winners from among 25 businesses that receive the most votes on SBBreakthrough.com. Winners will be announced June 20, 2013.