The city of Atlanta will join the City Accelerator program, an initiative of the Citi Foundation and Living Cities, to foster innovation and promote collaboration between urban leaders to address pressing issues cities face today, according to a press release.
Atlanta will join four other cities in this latest City Accelerator cohort – El Paso, Long Beach, Newark and Rochester – who will work together over the next year to pursue a range of projects that support the growth of local minority-owned businesses and the creation of additional jobs in each community.
The City Accelerator program includes a $100,000 grant to each cohort city to support local business and job growth. The City of Atlanta’s initiative will fund a program providing access to affordable real estate and technical assistance to economically underserved businesses in Southwest Atlanta. The initiative will be launched at Pittsburgh Yards, a 30-acre, mixed-use site under development in Southwest Atlanta. Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta’s economic development authority, will lead the project in partnership with One Atlanta: The Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Mayor’s Office of Innovation and Performance and local community Partner, The Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The program will help address four major challenges experienced by minority-owned businesses: limited access to capital based on traditional underwriting criteria, debt service payment capabilities, difficulty purchasing commercial space, and preparing for business growth. In addition to providing access to affordable commercial space at Pittsburgh Yards, the project team will offer technical assistance to help sole proprietorships increase business value by expanding hiring opportunities.
All five cities selected for this Accelerator program are considered majority-minority communities based on socio-economic makeup, where more than 50 percent of a city’s population represents social, ethnic and/or racial minorities. This classification is primary for urban centers to address the barriers minority-owned businesses face, including access to capital, connections to industries, and navigating regulations.
In addition to a $100,000 grant, each city will receive a combination of coaching, technical assistance and implementation resources in the coming year.
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