Hawks donate proceeds from MLK jersey to Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative

Hawks guard Trae Young models Atlanta's 2020-21 City Edition uniform, which honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Hawks guard Trae Young models Atlanta's 2020-21 City Edition uniform, which honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Proceeds from the sale of the Hawks’ 2020-21 MLK City Edition uniforms will be donated to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, which acts as a business incubator for women-owned businesses in their early stages.

The $100,000 donation will be presented at Thursday’s Hawks-Oklahoma City game at State Farm Arena.

The money will help fund businesses workshops, pitch competitions and grants for metro Atlanta women entrepreneurs, who will be able to register beginning March 18. Launched in 2015, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative is part of Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic-development authority, aiming to increase equity and prosperity in the city. The WEI serves a diverse group of women, with women of color accounting for more than 74% of participants. Focused on women entrepreneurship for start-ups in the beginning stages, the WEI serves as the only municipally funded program of its kind in the nation.

“The women of WEI elevate and strengthen economic growth in Atlanta through equity and inclusion,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said. “Thank you to the Atlanta Hawks for your partnership, which will enable more women to start successful businesses, become the city’s next job creators, and encourage other aspiring women entrepreneurs to pursue their own dreams.”

Upon announcing their MLK jerseys, the Hawks said they would donate the profits back to the Atlanta community, with a focus on communities of color.

“The Hawks Foundation is committed to using our resources of to drive opportunities for communities of color in the pursuit of equality and access,” said David Lee, executive vice president of the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena and Executive Director of the Hawks Foundation.

“We are especially proud, during International Women’s Month, to focus on continuing Dr. King’s work by supporting the development of female entrepreneurs as a vital component of our city’s economic engine.”

The aim of the workshops and pitch competitions is to help more women entrepreneurs launch and grow start-up businesses in Atlanta. Those workshops will focus on best practices and strategy to put businesses on the path to success, particularly in the early stages, and will also cover tech enablement, sales and fulfillment, software development and job creation.

Ultimately, after the competitions, two sets of grants will be awarded, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.

“Women-led startups need more than ideas to succeed – they also need information on best practices, tactical programming with guidance, and intentional capital to support those ideas,” said Monica Delores Hooks, executive director of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative.

“WEI helps to bridge these gaps early-stage female-led companies often face in turning big ideas into bright, successful businesses. We thank the Atlanta Hawks for their partnership and commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs through this exciting pitch competition.”