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Americans Unite To Help Small Businesses Break Through And Grow The Nation's Economy.

53% of Consumers Prefer to Shop At Small Businesses, Says Survey

NEW YORK, May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of National Small Business Month this May, OpenSky, the social network for shopping, along with several partners, is launching The Small Business Breakthrough, a national movement to celebrate, recognize, and promote small businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130501/NY05161LOGO)

"Consumers are moving away from the mass market retailers and brands," said John Caplan, founder and CEO of OpenSky. "It's time to celebrate the entrepreneurs that make this country great."

Starting tomorrow, OpenSky and its partners -- Dotbox, Dwolla, Edison Nation, Goodsie, Kabbage, Mad Mimi, Martha Stewart's American Made, Patch, ShopKeep POS, and Xero -- will launch a nation-wide call to action encouraging consumers to help their favorite small businesses break through the noise created by big box brands and grow. They do this by visiting www.SBBreakthrough.com to nominate small businesses for a Breakthrough Award and then sharing their nominated business with friends via social media using the hashtag #SBBreakThru.

According to a recent survey by Harris Interactive, consumers are passionate about supporting small businesses, with 53% preferring to buy products from small independent businesses than from big box retailers and 64% preferring to buy a product that is unique and different rather than mass-produced.[sup.1 ]

The Small Business Breakthrough facilitates that support by empowering consumers to make a meaningful impact on the economy and their favorite small business by sharing word-of-mouth recommendations with friends, something most small business owners say still drives the most growth for their brand.[sup. 2]

"I've never met anyone that wants to stand up and celebrate corporate big box retailers or brands but everyone does want to stand up and celebrate their neighbors; the entrepreneurs, the business builders, the artisans that are our future," said Louis Foreman, CEO of Edison Nation.

"Small businesses are the fabric of America and what fuels much of this country's growth," said Jason Richelson, CEO and Founder of ShopKeep POS and a former-retailer himself. "It's time we celebrate our neighborhood businesses and empower them with the tools they need to grow and build for the future."

Joining the movement: Consumers can participate in the movement in three ways:

1. NOMINATE a business that deserves to break through and grow for a Breakthrough Award by visiting www.SBBreakThrough.com and completing the short submission form.

2. HARE a business that deserves to break through and grow by telling friends and followers about it on social media using the hashtag SBBreakThru#

3. VOTE for a business that has already been nominated at www.SBBreakThrough.com to receive a Breakthrough Award and encourage others to vote as well.

Breakthrough Award Prizes presented by the partners include:

* A $5,000 grant from OpenSky to help further business growth in 2013 and an advisory session with the company's executive team.

* An e-commerce discovery audit by Dotbox and an advisory session with a Dotbox executive.

* An Apple iPod Touch loaded with the Dwolla app or help from Dwolla to create a plug in to easily accept Dwolla as online payment and an advisory session with the company's executive team.

* A one-year Insider Membership to Edison Nation and an advisory session with an Edison Nation executive on implementing and adopting open innovation strategies to grow your business

* A one year Pro Plan from email marketing provider Mad Mimi.

* A year of free POS system software from ShopKeep and ClearInsight and an advisory session with a ShopKeep executive.

* One year free subscription to beautiful online accounting software from Xero and an advisory session with a Xero executive.

Breakthrough Awards winners will be selected by a panel of judges representing The Small Business Breakthrough partner organizations. Judges will select winners from among 25 businesses that receive the most votes on SBBreakthrough.com. Winners will be announced June 20, 2013.

About OpenSky:

OpenSky is a social network for shopping where people connect with their friends to discover, buy and share unique things. Since it launched on April 5, 2011, nearly 3 million members and thousands of small brands have joined the OpenSky network.

For more information on OpenSky contact: Emily Lawi, VP Communications - Emily@OpenSky.com

[sup.1]This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of OpenSky from April 10-12, 2013 among 2,036 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Leah Lefco, OpenSky, pr@opensky.com.

[sup.2]Vistaprint conducts regular surveys with its U.S. micro business customer base, defined as small businesses with between 1-10 employees that primarily work out of their homes and generate less than $100,000 annually in revenues. This online survey was conducted from February 10 to 17, 2013 with nearly 1,300 total respondents and a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

[sup.3] www.sba.gov

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