Independent We Stand, a national small business movement powered in part by Stihl Inc., announced Oct. 20 its participation in the second annual Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26, 2011. Small Business Saturday is a day for dedicating a portion of holiday shopping to local, independently owned small businesses.

American Express, the founding sponsor of Small Business Saturday, created the national program in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: more demand for their products and services. The second annual event will build on last year’s inaugural program that drove millions of dollars to main street merchants.

Independent We Stand seeks to focus attention on the importance of small businesses across the nation, the jobs they create, and the economic benefit they provide their local communities. Small businesses have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years and employ just over half of all private sector employees, according to the Small Business Administration.

“While I wish Small Business Saturday was every day, this national event is going to give Independent We Stand members and indie businesses across the country the attention they deserve and a boost they could really use,” said Bill Brunelle, project manager of Independent We Stand. “Locally owned businesses reinvest in the local economy at a 60-percent higher rate than chains and Internet retailers, so Small Business Saturday shoppers will be revitalizing their economies while finding great deals at their favorite local merchants.”

“We are proud to have Independent We Stand join the Small Business Saturday Coalition,” said Maryann Fitzmaurice, senior vice-president, American Express OPEN. “It is critical that we get as many supporters on board as possible to generate demand for small, independently owned businesses this holiday season and beyond.”

Social media will play a central role in helping raise awareness about the importance of supporting small business and recognizing Small Business Saturday. The Small Business Saturday Coalition will be driving consumers and business owners to where they can participate in many ways. For more information about Independent We Stand, visit