Beltline opens applications for small business program

Up to 25 businesses can participate in the accelerator this winter/spring
The exterior of Pour Taproom on the Eastside Beltline. / Pour Taproom Facebook page

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The exterior of Pour Taproom on the Eastside Beltline. / Pour Taproom Facebook page

If you’re a small business owner who has wanted to learn about expanding to a location along the Beltline, now’s your chance.

The organization in charge of the citywide trail opened applications Monday for its Business Ventures program, a free small business accelerator. The program offers three months of in-person and virtual learning sessions on topics like market feasibility and business resilience, one-on-one business advising, a pitch competition and more. The goal is to prepare businesses for brick-and-mortar opportunities near the Beltline.

The program is open for up to 25 businesses this winter/spring, with priority given to women and minority-owned firms based around the west and southwest parts of the Beltline. Ideal candidates are businesses that have been in operation for at least two years, want to expand to their own physical space, have annual revenues of at least $250,000 and at least three employees (including the owner).

The program is run by the Beltline’s Business Solutions Office, which opened in July. Natalie Jones, project manager for the office, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this summer that the office was a “one-stop shop” of resources for entrepreneurs. She said it aims to connect with more than 300 businesses and provide a pipeline for at least 60 of those ventures to locate along the Beltline.

The office launched its first Business Ventures cohort this fall and is now looking for its winter/spring group. The program is run in partnership with The Center by Lendistry, the small business lender’s nonprofit arm, and Atlanta-based consulting firm CVM Worldwide.

Applications close Dec. 15 and the office will be holding an information session on Nov. 29. Businesses will be notified if they were accepted in January and the sessions will run from February to May.

- Evan Lasseter contributed to this reporting.

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