Many don’t realize that “small” business is actually really big, and getting bigger. Local, independently owned businesses are creating quality jobs and stronger communities everywhere, at a faster clip than large corporations. Beyond that, each dollar that is spent with a local business has a multiplier effect as it recirculates within your community — creating more quality jobs and greater stability as more of your family, friends and neighbors benefit. We’ve all seen it happen. Big box retail stores come into smaller markets, mom and pop businesses close down, vibrant and unique retail stores give away to sprawl and sameness. Once economic action turns local, trends begin to reverse. Sustainable quality jobs begin to return to communities. Downtowns once again become hubs for commerce and innovation — from Phoenix and Oakland to Detroit, Albuquerque and Charleston. BALLE Fellow Sarita Schaffer co-founded GrowFood, a nonprofit that connects new farmers to internships, apprenticeships, and hands-on education on more than 2,600 sustainable farms and food projects in the U.S. and 56 other countries. The BALLE network represents 500,000 businesses and organizations who are using business to create healthier, more equitable economies. Over the past 15 years “buy local” has become increasingly mainstream, thanks to communities throughout our network and the work of our partners. In the U.S., localism is driving sustainable economic growth in communities that need it. In 2014, independent businesses created nearly 2 million of the ~3 million private-sector jobs generated. Local businesses pay 44% of U.S. payroll and employ roughly 77 million Americans. At $8.6 trillion and 51% of the U.S. GDP, U.S. small businesses represent the third largest world economy, behind the U.S. overall and China. Neighborhoods served by a successful independent business gained, on average, 50% more in home values. All this adds up to a major contribution to the U.S. and global economy. Be part of this powerful, growing movement to create an economy that works for all. Stand with us and join the movement. Sign up for our email list to accelerate positive change in your business. Dive into our tools and resources to help create a healthier, more equitable community.