Atlanta awards $8.2 million to select small businesses and nonprofits

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens on Tuesday announced that $8.2 million in grant awards will be given to several local small businesses and nonprofits.

Dickens said more than 420 organizations will be awarded funds from the city’s Resurgence Grant Fund, which provides up to $40,000 to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dickens said the average amount of the awards is $14,318.

The mayor said the average business size among the awardees is between four and five employees. Roughly 85% are minority-owned, 79% are African-American owned, about 56% are women-owned, and 6% are veteran owned, he said.

Dickens shared the news in of front of The Beautiful Restaurant on Cascade Road in southwest Atlanta. He said he chose the Cascade Heights neighborhood first to personally handout grant checks to the business leaders based in that area.

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“I’m from this area,” Dickens said. “I’m from the westside, so we came here to put it down first, to hand out money in southwest Atlanta.”

Some of the recipients of the city’s first batch of grant awards includes the Cascade Service Center for vehicles, the VIP There Now Rental concierge service, and the Wilson And Sons Mechanical Maintenance company.

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

The Resurgence Grant Fund is a $10.4 million program funded by the American Rescue Plan. Dickens revived the program in March, long after it ended in 2020 after small businesses expended the available dollars from the initial fund created by then-Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in July 2020.

Invest Atlanta President and CEO Eloisa Klementich said they received an unprecedented amount of applications. Klementich said 2,473 completed applications were submitted, and an Invest Atlanta spokeswoman said they also received nearly 4,500 incomplete applications.

Additionally, Klementich said more than 100 full-time and part-time volunteers reviewed the applications alongside 21 Invest Atlanta employees and 20 contractors in less than three months.

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Klementich said grants were awarded based on the U.S. Department of Treasury’s guidelines. She said the city sent notification emails to the awardees this morning, and she urged them to fill out their grant agreements to receive their funds within three days to a week.

The awardees qualified for grants based on their location in disadvantaged neighborhoods, Klementich said, and she said they considered businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans and any other organizations facing disadvantages. She also said they focused on businesses that had not received any other resource or aid available during the pandemic.

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Klementich urged all businesses to visit Invest Atlanta’s website for information on financial resources provided by the city.

Lucy Sims, The Beautiful Restaurant’s chief financial officer, said their business was closed for the first time for nine months during the pandemic. But they still had to find ways to address their responsibilities, which included the discontinuation of their breakfast services because they’re unable to hire breakfast staff.

“There aren’t words that I can say to express how grateful we are in The Beautiful Restaurant Family,” Sims said.

“There’s no way I can express to you how this grant will help The Beautiful Restaurant. I’m so thankful because as you know, when you’re applying for loans and grants, it’s a lot of work, a lot of paperwork, but I can truly say it’s worth it.”