Last year, in the U.S., American Express sponsored an event called Small Business Saturday – a one day shopping event designed to push sales to SMBs over the biggest shopping weekend of the year in the States – between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

So how successful was it?

By any measure, Small Business Saturday was a huge success. Over $100 million shoppers participated – $17 million more than anticipated, due in part to the participation of high profile American figures such as Barak Obama. As one journalist said: “Main Street found its fight again.”

No surprise then that a number of big name brands are now on board. This year, Twitter offers mom and pop shops $100 dollars in free ads to help kickstart their social media presence.  Facebook created a slew of free tools to help businesses create their business page, including professional templates. Yola is also offering tools to create customized websites for these American businesses.  If that’s not enough, Google and FedEx have thrown their weight behind the event as well. Just the thing to help resource strapped companies get the marketing start they need.

But what if you’re a Canadian company?

The Small Business Saturday experiment is coming to Canada this October 20, sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Interac.  Why does it matter?  Small businesses employ 5 million people, that’s 48% of all jobs in the private sector. Over the past 10 years, small business owners have created 47% of all new jobs in this country.  This is an opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate the heroes of our economy by buying small.  As the CFIB says: “If we shop small we can make a big difference.”

The CFIB has put together a valuable toolkit to help your business get started on Canada’s own Small Business Saturday.  It includes a poster for your shop window and social media marketing tips. Pick yours up today!

What do you love about small businesses?  Share your small business love stories in the comments below, or on Twitter: #smallbizsaturday