February 8, 2017
Meet the stars of SBR: Amanda Brinkman
This is the first post in an occasional series that puts the spotlight on the incredible people on the front lines of the Small Business Revolution.
Meet Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer at Deluxe. In that role, she gets to share with the world her passion for helping small business owners find success and do what they love. A recent Women@Forbes article highlighted Amanda’s incredible career of building award-winning creative teams, history of cultivating talent from within, and her role as the creator of the Small Business Revolution series.
We wanted to share her passion with our readers, so we caught up with Amanda to learn more about the inspiration for the Small Business Revolution, her passion for the project, and why small businesses are so important.
Where did SBR come from? What was your inspiration for the series?
When I joined Deluxe, I spent time with their customers – small business owners in communities all over the country – and was so taken with their stories: why they started their business, what is hard about it, what their children are learning from them, etc. When you hear a small business owner’s story, you immediately want to support them. And that’s what sparked an idea: we could be their champions, we could tell their stories. I was convinced that we could create a movement. And so the Small Business Revolution was born.
Why is it so important to support small businesses?
Passionate entrepreneurs and small business owners are everywhere. For all we hear about big business and huge corporations, it’s small businesses that really drive an incredible portion of the American economy. More than 50 percent of the employed population works at a small business. More importantly, small businesses provide a way for dreamers and entrepreneurs to realize their potential and provide opportunities for communities to bond and prosper. We’re using the Small Business Revolution to shine a spotlight on the types of great small businesses that make our communities great.
How has SBR evolved over time?
It started as a documentary series in which Deluxe went across the country telling the stories of 100 small businesses and topping the year with a longer-form documentary film that shines the light on how important small business are to our communities, to our country, and to our economy. What started as an idea became stronger, bigger, and better, ultimately transformed into the Small Business Revolution. This year marks Season 2 of the Small Business Revolution, which will provide one lucky small town with a $500,000 revitalization. We received nearly 14,000 nominations and spent the last couple of months visiting and researching towns that made our short list.
What has been most inspiring or surprising about the series for you personally?
In all of the time I’ve spent listening to small business owners, I know well the challenges they face. Working closely with businesses in Wabash last year, and seeing how they banded together in an effort to improve their community, left an incredible and lasting impact on me, personally. If you watch that Season 1, you can see how inspiring it was, and this week, you can vote for the town you think deserves to be featured in Season 2.
What excites you most about the future of SBR?
Providing guidance and support to these entrepreneurs and small business owners has been so fantastic. We were incredibly moved by how the communities rallied around our contest and raised awareness for each of their small towns. I am most excited to continue telling incredible stories in towns similar to those featured on Small Business Revolution and help support small businesses nationwide.
What are some of the key lessons you’ve learned about small businesses?
I’ve learned about how passionate and how resilient small business owners are. Despite all the challenges they face, many of the small business owners we talk to and feature have found ways to work together and create something so much greater than if they acted alone. It requires hard work and dedication, but small businesses can still thrive, and we’re excited to continue inspiring people to join the revolution.