New $5.7 Million Loan Program to Help Atlanta Small Businesses Build Wealth and Secure Equity

Mayor Andre Dickens announced a new $5.7 million Atlanta stimulus loan program on June 14 to help small businesses. (Invest Atlanta)

A new $5.7 million low-interest loan program aims to help Atlanta small businesses build wealth and avoid displacement in a turbulent economic market. The program is part of a city initiative to help especially racially and ethnically diverse business owners who have have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Name it Atlanta Recovery Loan Program (ARLP)it is the first of four initiatives that United Way of Greater Atlanta in conjunction with Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, will roll out as part of the “Atlanta Open for Business Fund” supported by a $20 million donation from Wells Fargo.

Fed Small Business, which includes small business research and analysis by the 12 reserve banks of the Federal Reserve System, reported last year that 93% of Asian-owned businesses were the most likely to report an expected drop in sales in 2020 due to the pandemic. Declines in sales were also reported by 86% and 85% of black- and Hispanic-owned businesses, respectively, while 79% of white-owned businesses reported declining sales, according to the report.

“Without adequate funding to survive disruptions like the pandemic, most small businesses struggle to sustain their businesses, let alone secure assets to grow them,” Mayor Andre Dickens said in a press release. . “This program will be another invaluable asset in helping Atlanta residents build a resilient foundation for their businesses.”

The maximum ARLP direct loan amount is $25,000 to $100,000 at an interest rate of no more than 3% for up to seven years. Eligible businesses include existing businesses with fewer than 500 employees, partnerships or sole proprietorships, and nonprofit organizations focused on diverse communities that lead or support diverse communities. Businesses in all commercial areas of the City of Atlanta, including those operating on City of Atlanta-owned properties, are eligible.

“This resource is a strategy to help small businesses purchase property and business assets for growth so they can build generational wealth and increase economic mobility that improves their communities,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President. and CEO of Invest Atlanta, in the press release. .

Milton Little, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta added, “The Atlanta Recovery Loan Program will help advance a more equitable recovery from the pandemic by breaking down the race and ZIP code barriers that can prevent many entrepreneurs from converting increased income into wealth. .”

Other Atlanta Open for Business initiatives to be announced later this year are:

• Asset Building Assistance – working with nonprofit organizations, including in South and West Atlanta, this effort will recruit experts to develop asset building strategies for approximately 200 small businesses, such as the transition from renting or leasing commercial space to owning it.

• Exterior Improvement Grants – grants of up to $50,000 for exterior improvements for small businesses that have the ability to contribute 20% of their project.

• Commercial Property Growth – capital to help small business owners with rising rental costs, including down payment assistance grants of up to $200,000 for the purchase of real estate commercial.

To learn more about the Atlanta Recovery Loan Program and to apply, businesses should visit www.investatlanta.com/atlantarecovery.

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