Invest Atlanta hosted the Southside Small Business Fair (SSBF) in November 2019 to educate businesses on new programs, tools, and resources available to them.
Many of our partners participated as exhibitors—including the SBA, SBDC, and bank partners—and attendees the opportunity to learn about catalytic commercial properties where there may be space for small businesses. During the event, Invest Atlanta announced the new Small Business Improvement Grants program. Small businesses and property owners in five City of Atlanta Tax Allocation District (TADs) can apply for forgivable loans of up to $20,000 for interior and exterior improvements.
This announcement is another example of the City’s commitment to equitable opportunity in small business and entrepreneurship, and we would be honored to have the Mayor make the announcement during the program.
It is estimated than more than 3,000 businesses are in Atlanta’s Southside. To cultivate business growth and prevent business displacement, businesses need access to a variety of resources, including technical assistance, access to capital, and employment services to successfully grow.
It’s an important economic development initiative for Southside communities and the city as a whole to ensure equitable development, and the Southside has many assets to accelerate economic growth. The areas of our city located south of I-20 are poised for more growth as catalytic projects like the Southside Atlanta BeltLine Trail, Pittsburgh Yards, and the redevelopment of Fort McPherson come online. Neighborhoods south of Downtown are in a unique position to capitalize on increased economic activity in the area. This initiative is a way we can redouble our efforts to nurture business activity to create new jobs and economic opportunities for the communities they serve.
In November 2018, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms introduced new resources to assist Atlanta small businesses, including naming the city’s first Southside Community and Economic Development Manager, including Small Business Improvement Grants for Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh, and Peoplestown, as well as the Campbellton Road Renovation Program.
Invest Atlanta launched the Accelerate Southside Commercial Pilot in June 2019 comprised of an immersive technical assistance program offered by The Guild and a Commercial Down Payment Assistance Program to cultivate hyper-local, hyper-native small businesses. Nearly 100 businesses applied, 50 businesses were interviewed, and 21 selected for the program. The program assists in activating Pittsburgh Yards, redevelopment site sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, by supporting businesses interested in locating in a shipping container on the site