Jump to navigation

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Launches Campaign for Free Enterprise

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 8:00pm

Donohue issues national challenge: Create 20 million new jobs in the next decade

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today launched its Campaign for Free Enterprise, American Free Enterprise. Dream Big. (www.freeenterpriseamerica.com/) This unprecedented national campaign, one of the most significant in the Chamber's nearly 100 years, will urge Americans to embrace the essential role that free enterprise plays in the success of our country.

"As a nation we face major challenges, but none is greater than reviving the economy and creating the 20 million new jobs that we need over the next decade," said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. "It is time to remind and educate all Americans that the free enterprise values of individual initiative, hard work, freedom of choice, and the free exchange of trade, capital, and ideas built this great country and can lead us back to prosperity."

A recent survey by the U.S. Chamber found that while people support free enterprise, they do not clearly see how it benefits them as individuals. Respondents also expressed concern about the future of the free enterprise system and believe that the private sector will and should take the lead in the nation's number one challenge-job creation.

The Dream Big national advertising buy debuting today urges all Americans to enthusiastically pursue their dreams through the opportunities and choices provided by free enterprise, and to join the Chamber's effort to ensure that we preserve economic freedoms for future generations.

"Throughout our history, we have counted on the dreamers and the doers and the innovators and the industrious to enhance the lives of our people and the strength of our nation," said Donohue. "These free enterprise champions reside in every corner of our country. They are young and old. They are business owners and employees. They represent great diversity. And given the chance, they will out think and out work anyone-anywhere-and will create the 20 million jobs we need over the next decade to ensure America's positive leadership in the world."

Since the Chamber announced plans for the campaign in June, it has been holding listening sessions across the country with diverse groups, ranging from small business owners to state and local chamber leaders to Washington opinion leaders. These listening sessions helped shape the campaign, which is being rolled out in stages and is budgeted at millions of dollars annually. The campaign will include:

National Advertising: An innovative national advertising campaign including television, radio, online, print, new media, and other outlets to inspire Americans to celebrate the role of free enterprise in meeting our nation's next great challenge-creating 20 million new jobs in the next decade.

Grassroots Advocacy: A sustained, multifaceted grassroots campaign including e-mail, direct mail, phone calls, advertising, social media, and events to mobilize Chamber members, partners, supporters, and like-minded citizens in support of free enterprise principles and to hold elected officials accountable as they make decisions that impact our free enterprise economy.

Citizen, Community, and Youth Engagement: Local events, sustained online and traditional media coverage, and outreach to governors, mayors, and young audiences will be combined with the power of online social networking to involve and educate the public. Activities will include:


  • Free Enterprise Forums—A series of bipartisan community-based discussions on the role of free enterprise in job creation and innovation to help spread the free enterprise message throughout the country.
  • American Free Enterprise Pledge—A pledge that allows proponents of free enterprise to proclaim their support for and their intention to help strengthen the free enterprise system.
  • Dream Big Video Competition—An online video competition inviting Americans who personify free enterprise—business owners, startup entrepreneurs, and future business owners—to tell their stories of how free enterprise allows them to pursue their dreams.
  • Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award Program—An awards recognition program, held in conjunction with America's Small Business Summit, that honors successful small business owners and entrepreneurs who have contributed to the vibrancy of American free enterprise.
  • Governors and Mayors Initiative—Through the National Chamber Foundation's educational initiative, outreach will be conducted to state and local officials to identify, highlight, and convey free enterprise friendly policies that create jobs and attract entrepreneurs to their cities and states.
  • State Challenge Events—Public events with local leaders, entrepreneurs, and concerned citizens to announce state job challenges—commitments to support free enterprise policies that will enable states to create jobs needed in the coming decade.
  • Young Audiences Outreach—Through the National Chamber Foundation's educational initiative, outreach efforts to better understand what young people are learning about the free enterprise system, highlighting young entrepreneurs and partnering with organizations at the K-12 and university level.

Research and Ideas Leadership: Engage thought leaders, think tanks, and educational institutions to develop and advance solid arguments for free enterprise—with a strong focus on younger Americans. Activities will include:


  • Thought Leadership—A series of conferences with academic and opinion leaders to develop the case for free enterprise and to examine the challenges facing free enterprise.
  • Benchmark Polling and Public Opinion Research—Ongoing comprehensive polling to measure public attitudes and craft messages to build support for free enterprise.
  • Free Enterprise Speakers Bureau—A national speakers bureau made up of the Chamber's wide network to connect free enterprise speakers with civic and community groups.

As part of the campaign, the Chamber also unveiled the Free Enterprise Operations Center in its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Operations Center serves as a hub of all campaign elements including public opinion data, up-to-date news reports, and a cataloguing of Chamber activities related to the campaign and the Chamber's competitiveness agenda.

Another key aspect of the campaign will be community engagement. In addition to a series of nationally organized events and online dialogues, local chambers will be provided tools to organize their own dialogue events.

The American Free Enterprise. Dream Big. campaign launch event took place at U.S. Chamber headquarters in Washington, D.C., where advertisements and key program elements were released. Featured speakers included President and CEO Tom Donohue, as well as Patricia Owen, owner, FACES Day Spa, South Carolina; Ray Pinard, president and CEO, 48HourPrint, Massachusetts; and Bob Milligan, chairman, M.I. Industries; Nebraska.

American Free Enterprise. Dream Big. is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's comprehensive, multiyear campaign to support free enterprise through national advertising; grassroots advocacy; citizen, community, and youth engagement; and research and ideas leadership.

The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

# # #