First Cohort of 2019 Community Wealth Building Accelerator Graduates

Invest Atlanta and The Guild announced the graduation of the first cohort for the 2019 Community Wealth Building Accelerator, the first component of the Accelerate Southside small business development program.

The Guild’s first cohort for the Community Wealth Building Accelerator consisted of 21 minority-owned businesses primarily in the Food & Beverage, Health, Beauty & Wellness, and Apparel & Home Decor sectors. The businesses ranged in annual revenue from $40,000 to $5 million. 

The cohort learned advanced business fundamentals to boost the profitability of their businesses, real estate basics so they can acquire commercial real estate in rapidly gentrifying parts of the City, and new economic models that will allow them to build community wealth. Each business will also have access to peer coaches and shared back-office services. 

Cohort I consisted of 21 minority-owned businesses, primarily in the food and beverage, beauty and wellness, and apparel and home décor sectors. Learn more about the members here

Accelerate Southside is a two-part pilot program that includes an immersive business accelerator training offered by The Guild (2019 Community Wealth Building Business Accelerator) and a commercial down payment assistance pilot program that is currently under development by Invest Atlanta. With a focus on the 30-acre Pittsburgh Yards™ development located on the Atlanta Beltline Southside Trail, the down payment assistance pilot program will support entrepreneurs interested in purchasing a shipping container for their business and locating it at the Pittsburgh Yards Shipping Container Garden.

Recently, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Wells Fargo, the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, and the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship have come on as partners of the program. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, and Wells Fargo have provided grant funding to assist with program operations, and the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be the host location for all classes, events, and cohort graduation.

In 2018, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that the City of Atlanta would join the City Accelerator program, an initiative of the Citi Foundation and Living Cities, and receive $100,000 in grant funding to support small businesses and job growth. The City of Atlanta’s initiative, Accelerate Southside, will help address major challenges faced by minority-owned businesses and further provide more access to opportunities for more Atlantans

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