Expanding Economic Equity in Atlanta
Atlanta is at the precipice of change. Our city symbol is the phoenix – a mythical bird cyclically reborn from the ashes of its past. We now have the opportunity once again to rise from the ashes of civil unrest and build a more equitable, resilient Atlanta anchored by the Black business community.
Atlanta has a rich history of African American entrepreneurship. In fact, we currently lead the nation in Black entrepreneurs per capita; However, there has not been any coordinated, large-scale focus on the advancement of Black entrepreneurs since Maynard Jackson’s administration in the late 1970's.
Consider the ways our Black population has been disproportionately
impacted by the city’s rapid de-urbanization and economic decline
With additional resources, and more inclusive policy efforts we can create the systemic change needed to build a more equitable Atlanta. We can ensure the ecosystem for small, Black-owned businesses not only survives this unprecedented period, but is positioned to recover and thrive.
CALL TO ACTION
1 Buy Black Campaign
A regionally supported “Buy Black” initiative coupled with dedicated in-kind, financial and policy support that allows for cooperative buying, learning and creation of alternative economies at all levels.
Dedicated funding and policies that support the establishment of small business models of all levels like micro enterprises, cooperatives, youth community water entrepreneurs, etc.
10% of corporate, government, and philanthropic budgets reserved for Black-owned businesses procurement and contracts.
Infrastructure and resources support cooperative buying and learning among small Black-owned businesses.
2 Repair, Rebuild, & Resilience Fund
A mass flexible, accessible capital that includes federal and local grants, bonds, revenue-based and forgivable loans to support the repair, rebuild, and resilience of Black-owned small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and civil unrest.
An integrated capital fund that directs equity and lower cost-of-capital investments to small business growth (tech-related and non-tech related business).
Seed funding for a real estate investment cooperative to purchase property and land in gentrifying communities to preserve affordable resident control.
Increase the allocation of bonds and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to expand funding of small business loan and grant programs.
Facade and infrastructure funding for Black-owned businesses in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods and to recover and rebuild from COVID-19 and civil unrest.
3 Shared Service Model to Eliminate Digital & Professional Services Gap
A fully-funded, coordinated effort to connect Black-owned small businesses with professional and technological services to eliminate the professional resource and digital divide.
Professional and technical services to include, but not limited, to legal, financial, digital, etc.
Equitable access to digital space where Black-owned businesses can exist and survive COVID-19 and beyond.
A funded “shared service” model that includes free/in-kind donations of updated equipment and volunteer technical support (i.e. branding, graphics, social media, e-commerce) to decrease digital divide for small Black-owned businesses to support ease of conversion with websites and technology to digital marketplace.
4 Equitable Growth Strategy
Regional policies and procedures to preserve legacy and prevent the displacement of Black-owned businesses, especially in historically Black neighborhoods and areas experiencing rapid gentrification.
Create local commercial inclusionary zoning policies that promote equitable growth and preserve legacy business owners.
Land bank/trust for Black-owned small business owners to preserve at risk land and real estate as well as allow transfer to other emerging Black-owned small businesses.
Create more equitable municipal processes for business licenses, permitting, and zoning that do not create barriers of entry for entrepreneurs of color.
Employee ownership options including Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and worker cooperatives, especially for our legacy businesses who could preserve community wealth by selling to current employees.
5 Access to New Market Opportunities & Networks
Expanded opportunities in supplier diversity, procurement, and contracts to connect Black-owned businesses to growth industries and new business opportunities that would support economic growth and community wealth building.
Creation, enforcement, and oversight of for-profit and municipal diversity supplier programs. Create scorecards making this data public, promoting transparency and accountability.
Ensure that opportunity zones are executed and enforced to benefit intended outcomes and communities rather than as instruments of gentrification and displacement.
Resources to prepare small Black-owned businesses for expanded procurement opportunities and overall resilience.
Connect small businesses with procurement opportunities with new and traditional anchor institutions in a post-COVID-19 landscape.
Join us and find out how you can build a more equitable, resilient Atlanta anchored by the Black business community.
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