How to Grow Strong Independent Businesses and Vibrant Local Economies: Insights from AMIBA

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7 October, 2014

A growing number of studies have quantified the local economic benefits delivered by independent businesses, demonstrating how locally-owned independent businesses return much more of each dollar in revenue to their communities, and contribute to healthier, wealthier, local economies.  

In recent years, more than 90 US communities have developed Independent Business Alliances to strengthen independent, locally-owned businesses, prevent the displacement of local entrepreneurs by absentee-owned corporations, and build more durable and diverse local economies. 

The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) has helped these local groups successfully launch and develop a larger network to share ideas and learn from each other.

This session presents the four-pronged organizing model pioneered by AMIBA, shares key insights on how to create effective local alliances and successful buy-local campaigns, and explores interest to adapt the AMIBA approach for Canada. 


Jeff Milchen is Co-director and Co-founder of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).  He has spent 15 years helping communities build vital local economies and enhancing economic opportunity by strengthening and sustaining community-based businesses that promote citizen empowerment and community development.  Milchen pioneered this organizing model, founding and directing the Boulder Independent Business Alliance in Colorado, starting in 1998.

His prior work includes successfully operating his own start-up businesses in Vermont and serving as the director of Reclaim Democracy. He is the author of "Building Buy Local Campaigns that Shift Culture and Spending" and his commentaries and articles have appeared in dozens of publications including Business Week, S.F. Chronicle, The Ecologist, The Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and Adbusters.

Additional Resources

The Canadian CED Network
Webinar  --