From the day I started at Patch over four years ago, we realized that small businesses (SMB) were an underserved and misrepresented group. Much of the information presented about them online was incorrect and their online opportunities were confusing and limited. To effectively represent local communities, we knew you had to start with the local businesses and places that comprised them. As a result, we proactively - and painstakingly - collected information about every small business and place in every community we covered. We built comprehensive local business directories which we offered to businesses free of charge, enabling SMBs to claim their listing and market themselves to their communities through Patch. We also provided a dedicated SMB support team to address their unique questions and needs. When an SMB calls or emails us, someone is here to help them.

Today, in announcing "Patch Partners," we are reinforcing our commitment to Patch advertisers, and to small business owners everywhere. Why? Because at Patch we know that small businesses have more at stake in local communities than most. They not only live in these communities, they've invested in them, and in themselves. They're truly the fabric that binds strong communities together. Small businesses also have a unique set of needs and challenges that are frequently overlooked by traditional media. We're in a great position to help them. Small businesses are a major audience for us; they're "power users" on Patch. When it comes to commenting, uploading and engagement, they're one of our most active user groups. We view them as essential partners in growing local commerce and community. We hope "Patch Partners" will not only further empower small businesses to reach their most valuable customers, but enrich and inspire them by connecting them to each other, to successful businesses within the Patch network, and to nationally recognized entrepreneurs and businesses that have successfully built their brands and businesses into global successes.

To learn more about this announcement, read the full press release here.