City Accelerator Grant Aims to Strengthen Small Businesses in Southwest Atlanta

Posted August 8, 2018
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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