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CEO DATELINE – New small business coalition targets Amazon, monopolies

By Kathryn Walson
April 7, 2021

More than 20 independent business groups announced Tuesday they have formed a new coalition—called Small Business Rising—to “stop tech monopolies, like Amazon, from cornering the online market by breaking them up and regulating them,” according to the coalition’s website.

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Small Business Rising includes at least a half-dozen associations, such as American Booksellers Association; American Specialty Toy Retailing Association; Independent Office Products and Furniture Dealers Association; and National Grocers Association.

“The pandemic has shed light on just how concentrated our markets are, with companies like Amazon seeing massively increased profits as America’s small businesses fight to survive,” Allison Hill, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, said in a statement. “ABA believes we are stronger together and is excited to provide our members with this opportunity to connect with other independent businesses as we advocate for breaking up monopoly power.”

Small Business Rising is urging elected officials to take carry out specific actions to protect small businesses’ right to compete, according to its website.

“We’re building a united voice of businesses—rural and urban; Black, brown, and white; newly opened and long-established—to speak directly to lawmakers,” the coalition’s website says.

In addition to breaking up monopolies such as Amazon, Small Business Rising is calling on lawmakers to:

—Make antitrust laws stronger and easier to enforce.

—Outlaw mega-mergers and establish a higher bar for other mergers, including vertical acquisitions.

—Establish rules to create a level playing field, promote competition and spur innovation.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a research and advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C.; Minneapolis and Portland, Maine, helped convene the coalition and is a member of it, according to the institute’s website.

Earlier this year, the groups collaborated on a joint letter to President Biden urging the administration to make antitrust a priority, and they hosted an anti-monopoly town hall that drew nearly 400 business owners and featured Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.).

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