CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands – November 21, 2018 - To encourage the U.S. Virgin Islands community to support local, small businesses during the kick off of one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, the U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (USVIEDA) joined the nationwide effort once again to inspire individuals to shop at local, small businesses in the Territory on Small Business Saturday by hosting a “Shop Small Rally” on St. Thomas and St. Croix on Wednesday, November 21, 2018.
During this rally, representatives from the Economic Development Bank and the Enterprise Zone Commission
- which are entities of the USVIEDA - hand-delivered “Shop Small” promotional bags containing customized and ready-made posters, buttons, stickers, pens, balloons, and other items displaying the “Shop Small” trademark to local, small businesses participating in this year’s Small Business Saturday initiative on November 24, 2018. To help encourage the community to participate in the “Shop Small” initiative, the USVIEDA also distributed “Shop Small” promotional items to the public at their display table on St. Thomas on the first floor of the Nisky Shopping Center, and on St. Croix under the awning at 17˚64˚ Kitchen + Bar (2 & 3 Strand Street) in downtown Christiansted. “Shop Small” promotional pieces were also displayed at the entrance of the Nisky Shopping Center and the Tutu Park Mall on St. Thomas.
The USVIEDA also assisted various small-business owners in the community with assembling displays and posting signage at their businesses with “Shop Small” promotional materials to help them prepare for Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and was founded in 2010 by the American Express Company to help expose small businesses to potential customers during one of the largest shopping weekends of the year.
“Each year, the movement to “Shop Small” continues to encourage individuals across the country to get involved in supporting their local, small businesses,” said Wayne L. Biggs, Jr., USVIEDA assistant chief executive officer. “Small businesses continue to be tremendous contributors of economic growth for many communities, including ours. And because the USVIEDA believes that this is also an opportunity to highlight and support our small businesses here in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Authority joined this movement in 2016 by becoming a Neighborhood Champion of Small Business Saturday,” added Assistant CEO Biggs, Jr.
The Neighborhood Champion Program consists of small businesses, business associates, local Chambers of Commerce and other community organizations that are advocates of Small Business Saturday.
On Small Business Saturday, small-business owners can showcase and sell unique products and services while they build relationships with new and existing customers. Shopping at local, small businesses also allows small-business revenues to circulate within a community.
“I’m happy that American Express is promoting small businesses and encouraging people to shop with small businesses, and I’m happy the USVIEDA also gave me information about their programs that can help my business grow,” said Cyril Thomas of Urban Threads on St. Thomas.
After its launch in 2010, Small Business Saturday was supported in 2011 by the United States Senate which unanimously passed a resolution of support for Small Business Saturday. Former United States President, Barack Obama, along with mayors and governors across the U.S., championed the day in 2012. In 2013, individuals and local organizations pledged to join the effort and became Neighborhood Champions of Small Business Saturday.
About the U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority. The U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (USVIEDA) is a semi-autonomous governmental instrumentality [of the Government of the Virgin Islands] that was created on February 1, 2001. It is responsible for the promotion and enhancement of economic development of the United States Virgin Islands. The USVIEDA assumes, integrates and unifies the functions of these four entities: Economic Development Commission, Virgin Islands Economic Development Park Corporation, Economic Development Bank and the Enterprise Zone Commission. The USVIEDA accomplishes its mission by attracting multi-national investors to the Territory to establish or relocate their business in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It also provides financial assistance for new and existing small to medium-sized businesses in the Territory and assists V.I. residents and business owners with rehabilitating their properties located in blighted and distressed areas that were once vibrant economic centers of activity in the Territory. Learn more about the USVIEDA at www.usvieda.org; or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 Small Business Saturday Resolution: https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/senate-resolution/320/text.
 Small Business Saturday History Timeline: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/about