City Accelerator Grant Aims to Strengthen Small Businesses in Southwest Atlanta

Posted August 8, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Pittsburgh Yards in Southwest Atlanta is being developed to support the local community.

Atlanta — along with El Paso, Texas; Long Beach, Cal­i­for­nia; Newark, New Jer­sey; and Rochester, New York — recent­ly was select­ed for City Accel­er­a­tor, a joint effort of the Citi Foun­da­tion and Liv­ing Cities to improve com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try. All five cities, where peo­ple of col­or rep­re­sent a major­i­ty of the pop­u­la­tion, will receive a $100,000 grant to sup­port local busi­ness and job growth.

Cities can have a dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly pos­i­tive impact on local entre­pre­neur­ial ecosys­tems and the cre­ation of good jobs,” says Liv­ing Cities Pres­i­dent and CEO Ben Hecht. The cities in this lat­est ini­tia­tive will be show­ing how they can har­ness all their assets to sup­port and grow busi­ness­es owned by the nation’s fastest grow­ing pop­u­la­tions — peo­ple of col­or — and help to close racial gaps in wealth and income in their own backyards.”

Invest Atlanta, the city’s eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment author­i­ty, will lead the project in part­ner­ship with the Mayor’s Office of Equi­ty, Diver­si­ty and Inclu­sion and Office of Inno­va­tion and Per­for­mance to pro­vide access to afford­able real estate and tech­ni­cal assis­tance to small busi­ness own­ers in South­side com­mu­ni­ties. The ini­tia­tive will launch at Pitts­burgh Yards, a 31-acre rede­vel­op­ment project that aims to cat­alyze liv­ing-wage employ­ment, long-term career and entre­pre­neur­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties for res­i­dents in NPU‑V and sur­round­ing neighborhoods.

Cre­at­ing inno­v­a­tive ways to build oppor­tu­ni­ty and equi­ty through job growth, busi­ness incu­ba­tion and work­force train­ing is a pri­or­i­ty for our admin­is­tra­tion and our city,” says May­or Keisha Lance Bot­toms. Our vision […] includes a city where neigh­bor­hoods, com­mu­ni­ties and busi­ness­es thrive. We look for­ward to work­ing with the Citi Foun­da­tion and Liv­ing Cities through the City Accel­er­a­tor to real­ize that goal.”

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, which owns Pitts­burgh Yards, will work with Invest Atlanta and the mayor’s team to help address major chal­lenges expe­ri­enced by small busi­ness­es and entre­pre­neurs of col­or: lim­it­ed access to cap­i­tal based on tra­di­tion­al under­writ­ing cri­te­ria, debt ser­vice pay­ment capa­bil­i­ties, dif­fi­cul­ty pur­chas­ing com­mer­cial space and prepar­ing for busi­ness growth.

The Casey Foundation’s focus in rede­vel­op­ing Pitts­burgh Yards has always been on pro­vid­ing more equi­table oppor­tu­ni­ties for res­i­dents in South­west Atlanta,” says Kweku Forstall, direc­tor of the Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site. We’re excit­ed that this fund­ing has been secured and hope­ful that it will seed mean­ing­ful activ­i­ty for entre­pre­neurs in Pitts­burgh and sur­round­ing communities.”

The grant will be used to reserve sev­er­al com­mer­cial spaces at Pitts­burgh Yards that the program’s par­tic­i­pat­ing small busi­ness own­ers can pur­chase. In addi­tion to fund­ing, Atlanta and the four oth­er cities will receive a com­bi­na­tion of coach­ing, tech­ni­cal assis­tance and imple­men­ta­tion resources over the com­ing year.

To achieve and sus­tain equi­table growth, we need to ensure that busi­ness­es across the city have access to the resources and assis­tance they need to com­pete in Atlanta’s grow­ing econ­o­my,” says May­or Bot­toms. The real estate devel­op­ment pro­gram at Pitts­burgh Yards will be a cat­alyt­ic project to spur eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty in South­west Atlanta com­mu­ni­ties by cre­at­ing new oppor­tu­ni­ties for area busi­ness own­ers and emerg­ing enterprises.”

Learn More About Pitts­burgh Yards

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