Q: What is the Oakland Indie Awards?
A: The Oakland Indie Awards is Oakland’s largest celebration of independent businesses and artists that are making a positive social, environmental, or economic impact on our community. It is an annual event hosted every May. Since its inception in 2007, the Oakland Indie Awards has recognized over 100 locally-owned businesses and independent artists with an Indie Award for their contribution to Oakland's unique culture and prosperity.
Q: Who hosts the Oakland Indie Awards?
A: The Oakland Indie Awards is an economic development initiative of Beneficial State Bank and Foundation that aims to build prosperity in our communities by celebrating local economy.
Beneficial State Foundation is a nonprofit that owns 100% of the economic interest of Beneficial State Bank, and guides and promotes a “beneficial banking” model that transforms the banking industry by attracting human, financial, intellectual, and capital resources to beneficial banking. Learn more about our work at beneficialstate.org.
Beneficial State Bank is a values-based community development bank founded in 2007 with a triple-bottom-line focus of social justice, environmental resilience, and economic sustainability. We serve individuals, businesses, and nonprofits. As a certified B Corporation, we are committed to an economy that values people and planet, not just profit. Our mission is to build prosperity in our communities through beneficial banking services delivered in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner – all while changing the banking system for good. Considering aligning your money with your values? Check us out at beneficialstate.com
Q: Why celebrate the local economy?
A: Research shows that locally owned businesses create more prosperous, connected and entrepreneurial communities.[i] It matters where people choose to spend their money. Opting to support locally owned, independent businesses creates a positive effect, often referred to as a ‘multiplier effect,’ which is credited with enhancing social and civic well-being, is linked to higher wages, and reduces inequality while strengthening the middle class.[ii]
Want to learn more? Check out the Institute on Self Reliance “Key Studies: Why Local Matters." Their “Top 10 Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses” is a helpful primer. You can find additional quick facts and local case studies on the Business Alliance for local Living Economies (BALLE) website.
Q: What does Indie mean?
A: Independent! Indie is an informal, colloquial term to reference a business’ ownership structure. When used in the context of the local economy, it’s typically to stand out from large retail chains or big-box retailers.
Q: How does the Oakland Indie Awards work?
A: This event celebrates independent businesses and artists who give back to our community and recognizes the positive impacts of supporting our local economy. The Oakland Indie Awards is often associated with a huge party because it’s one of the best parties of the year, but there is so much more to it than meets the eye:
- The Oakland Indie Awards officially kicks off with a public nomination process, which happens every March. This year it runs from March 6 – 31. During this window, anyone can submit their favorite indie businesses or artists online at any time. There is no limit – nominate all your favorites!
- After the nominations process ends, two independent judging panels will convene in April. Hundreds of nominees are narrowed down to eight winners.
- AWARDS CEREMONY:
- The lucky winners are announced at the official Oakland Indie Awards ceremony. Due to space constraints in the auditorium, we give first dibs to nominees and special guests; however, we may offer alternate screening locations to accommodate overflow.
- The famous Oakland Indies Award Party begins as soon as the Awards ceremony ends. It is a huge celebration where you can shop, eat, drink and party local, featuring amazing and all Oakland-sourced: live music and entertainment, food, art exhibitions, and an Indie Marketplace. Tickets are required for entrance ($10 early bird/$15 at the door).
A: These categories are designed to highlight the diverse ways our indie businesses and artists give back to our community and recognizes the positive impacts of supporting our local economy.
- Oakland Soul:
- Represents the soul, essence and spirit of Oakland. This business or artist appreciates diversity and creativity, is confident in their individuality and humbly supports their brothers and sisters.
- Innovative Newcomer:
- A business or artist who started in the last three years that excites and inspires with a creative new idea, perspective, model or solution.
- High Road Employer:
- This model employer puts people before profit by providing quality jobs, fostering a positive work environment, and championing beneficial business practices.
- A long-established Oakland business or artist with deep roots in the community and long-standing ties to the people, culture and history of The Town. This person or business mentors newbies and is renowned for their contributions to Oakland’s living history.
- Youth Opportunity:
- This independent business or artist creates job pathways for young people through mentorship, internships, and/or paid positions, giving them the skills they need to thrive in the workforce.
- An environmental champion who works to improve our community through sustainable practices, products or services. This local business or individual reduces waste or consumption, creates green products or provides green services.
- Ripple Effect:
- A business that supports the local economy by buying supplies and services from other local vendors, creating a “ripple effect” as money circulates within the community.
- Social Changemaker:
- This socially responsible business or individual incorporates positive social change into their mission, operations, and/or measures of success. They use creative approaches to give back to the community and address economic and environmental issues.
A: There are two independent rounds of judging that take place. These panels are comprised of community leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, past Indie Award winners, arts supporters, technical assistance providers and community and non-profit partners.
Q: How do I get nominated or nominate others?
A: It’s easy! Between March 6-31, submit your nominations online!
Q: Is there a limit to how many nominations I can make?
A: Nope! We want all indie businesses and artists to be recognized for their contributions. We’re counting on the community to identify the best, most deserving indie businesses and artists so our judges have the best selection from which to choose. Previous winners of Oakland Indie Awards can be nominated but are not eligible to win.
Q: Are non-profits eligible for an Indie Award?
A: No, this event is designed to boost our local economy by shifting our collective purchasing behavior towards locally owned products and services, and to highlight our local businesses that are using business as a force for good; therefore, nominees must be 1) an independent for-profit business based in Oakland OR 2) a visual artist/artisan who lives or has a studio in Oakland.
Q: I am an indie business/artist, how can I stand out and spread the word?
A: We want you to add your voice to this important conversation! Follow this link to find an easy to use social media toolkit: www.oaklandindieawards.com\spreadtheword1
Q: How do I find out if I’ve won?
A: The only way to find out if you’ve won is to attend the Awards Ceremony! It’s true, winner’s names are kept secret until the ceremony. However, we will keep in close touch with nominees. You don’t want to miss important details and an exclusive invitation that will come your way, all by email, so please pay attention and be timely in your responses!
Q: Do I need a ticket to attend the party?
A: Yes, you must purchase a ticket to attend the party. The cost is $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
Q: Is there an area suitable for kids?
A: Yes! There will be kid-friendly activities on-site.
Q: Is the food free?
A: Yes, food and non-alcoholic beverages are included with your ticket!
Q: How do I get a drink at the bar?
A: Drink tickets are $5 each and redeemable for beer, wine, or hard cider. You must show proof of ID to purchase a drink ticket from a drink ticket booth.
Q: Is there WiFi?
A: Yes. It is the Oakland Museum’s. It is public and does not require a passcode.
Q: May I leave and re-enter with my wristband?
A: Yes, but you may not take food or drinks outside, nor bring in outside food or drinks with you.
Q: Where is an ATM?
A: There is a First Republic ATM machine near the bathrooms by the museum’s box office.
Q: How can I participate?
A: There are many ways to get involved! Visit www.oaklandindieawards.com to:
- Make your voice heard! Nominate the indie businesses and artists who give back to our community! (Nominations open March 6-31!)
- Volunteer! Our volunteers make the whole thing run, and you can't beat the perks!
- Sponsor the Indies! The Oakland Indie Awards is possible because of your generosity.
- Be showcased at the Indie Marketplace! Apply here for a table at the Indie Awards.
- Help spread the word! Use #oaklandindieawards and add to the conversation!
- Buy tickets and bring your friends, family, & co-workers to the best party of the year!
- Strengthen our local economy by shopping local first. Align your purchasing power with your values!
A: Go to www.oaklandindieawards.com, follow us on Instagram @oaklandindieawards and RSVP on Facebook
[i] Institute for Self-Reliance, “Key Studies: Why Local Matters.” visit: https://ilsr.org/key-studies-why-local-matters/
[ii] Institute for Self-Reliance, “Key Studies: Why Local Matters.” visit: https://ilsr.org/key-studies-why-local-matters/