AMIBA is a national non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening independent business, empowering citizens, and refocusing government to build community vitality and broaden opportunity for all.
We do this by building strength in numbers to drive social, economic, and cultural change locally and nationally.
In late 1997 two Boulder, Colorado residents — David Bolduc of the Boulder Book Store and Jeff Milchen, now co-director of AMIBA, convened discussions with other residents to discuss how to prevent the trend of absentee-owned chains displacing local businesses could be prevented locally. Just weeks later, the first Independent Business Alliance was born, advancing a proactive strategy for helping the community preserve its character and sustain local entrepreneurs.
The initial sell for an untested idea was tough, but once several of the community’s landmark businesses were convinced to join, attracting others became easier. After two years the Boulder IBA had built a coalition of 150 businesses and non-profits and succeeded in creating a cultural shift supporting local independent business through public education and advocacy, while also helping local entrepreneurs directly through facilitating group purchasing and marketing initiatives.
Being local became hip. Non-affiliated businesses and even franchises began using “local” as a marketing tool. Culture and habits were shifting.
After responding to dozens of inquiries from other communities about the IBA model, Milchen and then-assistant director Jennifer Rockne went on to found AMIBA to fulfill the growing demand for help and work toward larger-scale change to shift policy that favors global corporations over small business. AMIBA works to build a pro-community, pro-equity, pro-entrepreneur counterforce to bastions like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that push to increase corporate power and monopolization. We partner with allies to turn political platitudes of supporting small business into reality.
AMIBA is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization. Donations are fully tax-deductible and comprise an essential portion of our funding, along with affiliation dues, speaking honoraria, sales of educational merchandise and other forms of earned income.