(51300)

Sometimes small is better, and that is exactly what the American Express Small Business Saturday is all about.

Consumers are encouraged to make a special effort to go shop or dine at a small business on Nov. 30.

According to American Express, spending your dollars at local firms reinvests in your neighborhood and community and helps create jobs.

Los Angeles County is home to 244,000 businesses, with more minority- and women-owned businesses than any other in the nation. According to Crain’s New York Business, about 215,000 of the firms are classified as small.

Nationwide the Census Bureau notes that as of 2007 (the most current available data), there were 1.9 million Black-owned firms. This was an increase of 60.5 percent from 2002 to 2007 and more than triple the national rate of increase of 18.0 percent. Over the same period, receipts generated by Black-owned businesses increased 55.1 percent to $137.5 billion.

“Black-owned businesses continued to be one of the fastest growing segments of our economy, showing rapid growth in both the number of businesses and total sales during this time period,” said Census Bureau Deputy Director Thomas Mesenbourg.

To encourage people to shop small, American Express is offering its card members the opportunity to get a $10 statement credit from a single in-store transaction at a qualifying small business. To do this, members must enroll their card, by visiting the Shop Small website and then use it to spend $10 or more. The number of enrollments is limited and must be done beginning at 12 a.m. on Nov. 24 through 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 30, unless the enrollment limit is reached sooner.

To find a qualifying company, go to the website www.shopsmall.com and search the map.

Small business owners who want to get involved, whether they are an American Express merchant or not, can also go to the www.shopsmall.com web site and take advantage of the free tools there under the get resources section.

Among the options available is the ability to create personalized marketing materials such a website banner and in-store signage with the Shop Small branding and logo. You also have the option of downloading generic information to use. There are suggested tweets and Facebook copy you can utilize as well.

There are also success stories on the Website detailing what other entrepreneurs have to support Small Business Saturday.