The launch of two new initiatives to support and empower the city’s growing community of entrepreneurs and small businesses was has been announced by Mayor Kasim Reed. The City of Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) will provide an ecosystem of resources and support to nurture the advancement of women-owned businesses. Goldman Sachs, through its 10,000 Small Businesses program, will provide loan capital to Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), giving entrepreneurs in Atlanta more access to growth capital and the opportunity to apply to a business education program offered nationally by Babson College.
The WEI, located in downtown Atlanta’s historic Flatiron Building, will serve as an incubator for women entrepreneurs and will provide resources and support to accelerate business growth, expand community outreach, offer educational workshops and mentorship engagement, provide legal advice and assist with marketing efforts. Microsoft will provide development software, coaching, and grants to the WEI through their Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC). The MIC will be housed exclusively in the Flatiron Building, and will be the only MIC in Atlanta. Through a competitive selection process, 15 women entrepreneurs will be selected to incubate their business at the WEI. Over the course of 15 months, the entrepreneurs will have access to practical business education, financial capital and business support services. Theia Washington, Executive Director of the WEI, will open the application process on Feb. 9, 2015. The selection of the WEI participants will be announced in late March.
Reed also announced that Goldman Sachs will provide new loan funds for Atlanta small businesses as part of the firm’s 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs will provide nonprofit community lender, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), with $3 million, increasing ACE’s ability to provide loans between $50,000 to $250,000 to small businesses in Atlanta, including low- and moderate-income and minority- and women-owned businesses.
In addition to Goldman Sachs’s commitment to expanding access to capital for small business owners in Atlanta, small business owners in the area who are interested in seeking practical business education are encouraged to apply for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses national education program. This program is delivered in partnership with Babson College through a combination of online and in-person learning. Scholarships are provided to accepted small business owners to cover participation in the program, as well as reasonable travel expenses to participate in the in-person portions of the program. Several Atlanta-based small business owners have already taken advantage of this opportunity and applications are currently being accepted for the fall classes. To learn more, visit 10KSBapply.com.