Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms introduced legislation that requests Atlanta’s economic development arm—Invest Atlanta—establish a new Community Loan Fund designed to encourage micro and small business development within the City of Atlanta.
The fund is designed to target business development that has been unserved by Invest Atlanta’s small business loan tools. The resolution was introduced by Atlanta City Councilmember Antonio Brown in collaboration with the Bottoms Administration.
“If we are to attain an equitable, One Atlanta, we must build a more inclusive entrepreneurship culture in our City,” said Mayor Bottoms.
“One of the biggest hurdles facing new small businesses is simply obtaining low-cost capital investment. Women and minority-owned business are disproportionately affected by this reality, despite their returns consistently matching the market. This program is designed to provide opportunity and hope to underserved communities that empowers them to pursue their dreams and contribute to our economy.”
The Community Loan Fund will develop policies and guidelines to prioritize direct lending to credit-disadvantaged entrepreneurs using non-traditional underwriting standards.
“The community loan fund will help boost the economic and social fabric of our city,” said Councilmember Antonio Brown, who represents District 3.
“When we work together, we see the kind of transformational change that revitalizes our neighborhoods and empowers our constituents. This initiative will help provide equitable access to resources and create more opportunity, which truly benefits our communities.”
“The Community Loan Fund will allow small business owners to begin building for their future,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President CEO of Invest Atlanta.
“This loan program will be the first to allow recipients to restructure and pay off their existing business debts, giving them the financial flexibility to expand operations and hire more employees. Having another new tool in our toolkit will allow the City of Atlanta to support even more of our entrepreneurs as they work to achieve their dreams.”
The Community Loan Fund is yet another step toward creating Mayor Bottoms’ vision for One Atlanta—a safe and welcoming city with world-class employees, infrastructure and services, an ethical, transparent, and fiscally responsible government, thriving neighborhoods, communities, and businesses and residents who are equipped for success.