Urban League in Atlanta getting $3 million for minority entrepreneurs

The Urban League of Greater Atlanta will be among 43 groups across the country receiving grants as part of a new, $125 million federal program announced Friday morning, White House officials said.

The Capital Readiness Program, touted in a teleconference briefing by Biden administration officials, is aimed at “supporting the people who support minority-owned businesses,” officials said.

The program is the largest-ever direct federal investment in small business “incubators and accelerators,” according to the White House.

The program, to be announced by Vice President Kamala Harris at an event celebrating entrepreneurs in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood, is meant to focus on “high-growth industries including health care, climate-resilient technology, infrastructure, transportation and logistics,” according to the White House.

The Atlanta Urban League will get $3 million, officials said.

The Atlanta group, part of the 113-year-old National Urban League network, has a mission centered on giving help — mainly to African Americans — toward economic security with programs that include education, job training and employment counseling.

The federal money is intended for the Atlanta Urban League’s entrepreneurship center that helps small and start-up businesses survive and expand. The Urban League’s center focuses on individuals who are “socially and economically disadvantaged.”

The Atlanta center, started in 2004, has coached or trained more than 5,700 firms, according to the White House statement, and was among 1,000 applicants for the funds.

“They are uniquely qualified to address the needs of minority businesses across the diverse region of metro Atlanta by delivering technical assistance support,” the White House statement said.

The Capital Readiness Plan is an outgrowth of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021 with the economy still emerging from the pandemic downturn. The bill followed huge stimulus packages — the CARES Act , passed as the pandemic struck, and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, passed late in 2020 to bolster household finances.

In addition to the Urban League, the grant recipients include nonprofit and community-based organizations, colleges and other institutions of higher education.

The Capital Readiness Plan will be administered by the federal Minority Business Development Agency.