PEORIA —It's time to spread the word about Small Business Saturday, the day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide. Small Business Saturday is November 24th. This is a national initiative aimed at getting consumers to support the small businesses in their community. Local project coordinator Renee Charles, with The Heartland Partnership, said there are 24 regional partners on board helping promote the initiative including area chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, cities, counties and community groups from Ottawa to Canton to Peoria to Bloomington. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of every community,” Charles said. “In fact more than 95% of businesses in our region are considered small business and they employ over half of all private sector workers. That is why we are all working together to promote Small Business Saturday throughout Greater Peoria.” Roberta Parks, President of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, said her organization is proud to be a part of this program and it's important for everyone to get involved. “Not only are these small business owners our friends and our neighbors, but they are the driving force behind our regional economy Small businesses accounted for 64% of the net new jobs created in the U.S. between 1993 and 2011,” Parks said. “For every $100 spent at locally owned independent stores more than half of it returns to the regional economy through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.” This is the 3rd year for the national Small Business Saturday movement. It includes an exhaustive social media promotion. Last year's effort resulted in more than 2.6 million “likes” on Facebook and more than 195,000 supportive tweets. National reports show more than 100 million shoppers turned out to support Small Business Saturday 2011 which was significantly more than the 83 million that organizers had expected. Charles said the national coordinators highlighted Central Illinois' effort last year as an example of how communities should collaborate. “We want to showcase an even stronger effort this year,” Charles said. “We are reaching out to small businesses encouraging them to create specials to entice shoppers to visit their stores on this day and we are also reaching out to shoppers encouraging them to make a concerted effort to shop at the small locally owned stores on November 24th.” Visit Small Business Saturday Central Illinois on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Small-Business-Saturday-Central-Illinois/245642002151363 to see who's involved and what's happening with the regional effort or learn more about how you can show your support at www.shopsmall.com.