“Small Business Saturday,” which takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving, aims to steer holiday shoppers into independently owned brick and mortar businesses in an attempt to help them enjoy the holiday shopping blitz enjoyed by larger chain stores. Shoppers who enter a picture of their receipt from a purchase made on Nov. 26 at a small business in Oakland County are eligible to win $5,000, courtesy of North American Bancard. One second prize winner receives $2,000, courtesy of Flagstar Bank, and third prize is a $500 voucher towards travel on Southwest Airlines at Flint Bishop International Airport.
“Unique independently owned retail stores are a large part of what make our downtowns great,” Patterson said during a press conference held at Modern Natural Baby in downtown Ferndale. “For their success to continue, we need the support of shoppers, especially during the holiday season. Modern Natural Baby is an example of the small businesses that will benefit from ‘Small Business Saturday,’ which is the big holiday shopping Saturday following Thanksgiving.”
Retailers are also encouraged to participate. Those who register online at www.AdvantageOakland.com/ShopSmall are automatically entered into a drawing for a $1,000 American Express gift card, courtesy of CEED Lending. Businesses will also be asked to remind shoppers not to forget small retailers for their holiday shopping. The program is patterned after the “Shop Small” campaign developed by American Express. Complete contest rules, eligibility and the date of the drawing will be available online on Nov. 1 and are found at www.AdvantageOakland.com/ShopSmall.
During the news conference Patterson introduced two other programs to assist local businesses and entrepreneurs: the Oakland Entrepreneurial Alliance and a satellite office for the county’s WalkIn/StartUp Thursday program.
The alliance is a collaboration between the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center, Automation Alley, Oakland University’s business incubator OU INC, SBDC Tech Team Michigan and Walsh College. The purpose is to streamline the path for entrepreneurs to access a wide range of services to launch or grow a small business.
“Entrepreneurs have more options today than they did a few years ago with regard to accessing business support services but that has also created confusion,” Patterson said. “The OEA gives us the opportunity to create a support services road map, helping us accelerate the path to market and growth for small business across Oakland County.”
The services include:
- Exporting and manufacturing expertise
- Business incubator space and equipment
- Matchmaking with logical partners
- Business counseling, training and marketing
- Access to capital
In 2015, the alliance partners produced 40 start-up companies, raised more than $400 million in capital, created more than 1,000 jobs, served 800 companies and performed more than 8,000 of hours of business consulting. Details on the alliance are available at www.theOEA.com.
Patterson announced the opening of a satellite office at Novi City Hall for the county’s business walk-in/start up business counseling program. The sessions are held on the first Thursday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. City Hall is located at 45175 W. 10 Mile Road. No appointment is necessary for the sessions.
The county offers walk-in counseling on Thursday’s in the One Stop Shop Business Center at the Executive Office Building, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. The hours are 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. The sessions are geared towards budding entrepreneurs.