AIR MILES means business: new site and awards program targets Canadian small business owners

Launching during Small Business Month, AIR MILES® for Business looks to award, reward and recognize Canadian entrepreneurs

TORONTO, Oct. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - An estimated 1.1 million small businesses call Canada homei. Now, small business owners have a new online destination offering information to help them make the most of their businesses, reward themselves and recognize staff and top customers with AIR MILES reward miles.

AIR MILES for Business (airmiles.ca/business) is a new unique facet of the AIR MILES Reward Program especially for the 800,000+ Collectors who are small business owners. The exclusive online destination provides dynamic benefits and rewards for these Collectors, such as exclusive short-stay vacations for time-strapped small business owners; access to special events, such as PROFIT Magazine's W100 Idea Exchange and other Canadian Marketing Association Events; and redemption options for useful business products and services, such as translation or logo design, to name a few.

AIR MILES is also proud to present the 2014 Small Business Achievement Awards. Small business owners can nominate themselves in one of five categories and winners will receive an invaluable mentorship session from some of Canada's most well-regarded business leaders, such as financial expert, author and entrepreneur, Kevin O'Leary, Steve Matyas, president of Staples Canada and Bryan Pearson, president and CEO of LoyaltyOne.

"We want Canadian small business owners to get value out of the program like never before and have the opportunity to reward themselves, their businesses and their employees," says Rachel MacQueen, Associate Vice President, Marketing, AIR MILES Reward Program. "Equally important, AIR MILES wants to recognize the outstanding contribution of entrepreneurs through the launch of the AIR MILES Small Business Achievement Awards, which will give the deserving winners mentorship from some of the best business minds in the country."

Benefits of the New Portal
AIR MILES for Business is an exclusive destination with merchandise, events and travel rewards designed especially for busy small business owners.

Earn Reward Miles Faster:  Unlimited supplementary cards for employees and Bonus offers at relevant Sponsors make it easier than ever to earn quickly. Existing Sponsors who benefit small businesses include Staples, National Car Rental, Best Western, BMO and American Express.

Redeem Reward Miles for Business Events and Services: Redeem reward miles to help business thrive with access to learning events and useful services. Entrepreneurs can use AIR MILES to help their business with free reward mile transfers to reward employees and customers as well as redemption for business services and events. From website and letterhead design to water services and branded merchandise, AIR MILES for Business Collectors can make their rewards work harder with redemptions for services they can really use. Reward miles can also be redeemed for conferences and seminars from PROFIT Magazine, Marketing Magazine and the Canadian Marketing Association, such as Digital Day 3D, Not for Profit Roundtable and Marketing Math 101.

With the new American Express AIR MILES for Business Card (www.amexforbusiness.ca/airmilesforbusiness), Cardmembers can benefit from an exclusive 25 per cent discount on business rewards redemptions from the AIR MILES for Business Rewards catalogue - a new online catalogue designed especially with the small business owner in mind - in addition to other benefits.

Reward Yourself With a Short Getaway: Need some time off after all of that hard work? To make it easier for time-strapped small business owners to take a break, AIR MILES for Business offers a range of short local getaways across Canada - rewarding you with much-needed R&R without causing stress from being away too long!

Announcing the AIR MILES Small Business Achievement Awards
AIR MILES is launching a national Small Business Achievement Awards program, in partnership with PROFIT Magazine, designed to recognize and reward small business success in Canada. With approximately 48 per cent of Canada's workforce employed by a small businessii, they are a driving force in the economy. Starting in October, businesses will be invited to nominate themselves in five categories, with a judge assigned to mentor the winner in each category in a special mentoring session:

  • Small Business of the Year - Howard Grosfield, President & CEO, American Express Canada
  • Startup of the Year - Steve Matyas, President, Staples Canada
  • Innovation of the Year - Dorothy Dowling, Sr. Vice-president, Marketing and Sales, Best Western International
  • Social Impact - Bryan Pearson, President & CEO, LoyaltyOne
  • Youth Entrepreneur of the Year - Kevin O'Leary, Chairman, O'Leary Funds

The judging will be moderated by Ian Portsmouth, editor of PROFIT Magazine. The winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony on February 24, 2014 at the Toronto Board of Trade. Small business owners can enter online at www.amfbawards.com.

"Supporting bright, young entrepreneurs is such an important job," says O'Leary. "They need practical advice and mentorship to help them get their ideas off the ground in the real world. I'm so pleased that I can help to provide that, along with support from the AIR MILES Reward Program, which offers all small business owners benefits and rewards to foster their businesses."

About the AIR MILES Reward Program
Founded in 1992, the AIR MILES Reward Program is Canada's premier coalition loyalty program with more than 10 million active Collector accounts, representing approximately two-thirds of all Canadian households. The AIR MILES Reward Program allows Collectors to earn reward miles simply by doing their everyday shopping at more than 220 leading brand-name Sponsors, representing thousands of retail and service locations across Canada and leading global brands online. The AIR MILES Reward Program also allows Collectors to indulge in more than 1,200 leisure, entertainment, merchandise, travel and a range of accredited, environmentally-friendly lifestyle rewards. With AIR MILES Cash, Collectors can also have the flexibility to instantly redeem their AIR MILES reward miles in-store towards many every day and high value purchases like gas, grocery, drug store items and home improvement purchases at participating Sponsors.

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i Industry Canada Small Business Branch, Key Small Business Statistics Report, July 2012, http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/061.nsf/vwapj/KSBS-PSRPE_July-Juillet2012_eng.pdf/$FILE/KSBS-PSRPE_July-Juillet2012_eng.pdf
ii Industry Canada Small Business Branch, Key Small Business Statistics Report, July 2012, http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/061.nsf/vwapj/KSBS-PSRPE_July-Juillet2012_eng.pdf/$FILE/KSBS-PSRPE_July-Juillet2012_eng.pdf

Image with caption: "AIR MILES for Business is a new unique facet of the AIR MILES Reward Program especially for the 800,000+ Collectors who are small business owners. (CNW Group/AIR MILES Reward Program)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131009_C8029_PHOTO_EN_31805.jpg

Image with caption: "AIR MILES for Business is a new unique facet of the AIR MILES Reward Program especially for the 800,000+ Collectors who are small business owners. (CNW Group/AIR MILES Reward Program)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131009_C8029_PHOTO_EN_31869.jpg

Image with caption: "AIR MILES for Business is a new unique facet of the AIR MILES Reward Program especially for the 800,000+ Collectors who are small business owners. (CNW Group/AIR MILES Reward Program)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131009_C8029_PHOTO_EN_31871.jpg

SOURCE: AIR MILES Reward Program

For further information:

Anne Locke or Stephanie Dale
Environics Communications
416.920.9000
alocke@environicspr.com
sdale@environicspr.com


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