10,000 Small Businesses to Provide Loan Capital to Help Atlanta Entrepreneurs Grow

ATLANTA – January 27, 2015 – Mayor Kasim Reed announced today the launch of two new initiatives to support and empower the city’s growing community of entrepreneurs and small businesses. 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 launch of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses lending program in Atlanta represent our city’s commitment to helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses,” said Mayor Reed. “With the support of Goldman Sachs, we can empower entrepreneurs by providing them the tools and resources necessary to create well-paying jobs and strengthen our economy.”

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. In addition, 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.

In partnership with Invest Atlanta, the Reed Administration secured funding and office space to maximize the success of the WEI’s entry into Atlanta’s growing entrepreneurial community. The WEI is a result of the city’s ongoing efforts to harness the power of women-owned businesses and emerging entrepreneurs for the socio-economic advancement of Atlanta. Theia Washington, Executive Director of the WEI, will open the application process on February 9, 2015. The selection of the WEI participants will be announced in late March.

“Serving as the Chairperson for the Advisory Board of the City of Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative offers a unique opportunity to have direct interaction and engagement with a driving force in Atlanta’s growing entrepreneurial community – women business owners,” said Carol Tomé, CFO, The Home Depot, WEI Advisory Board Chairperson. “In order to nurture the success of young businesses and emerging entrepreneurs in Atlanta, we must work collaboratively, as community, business and educational leaders alike, to harness our resources and empower our entrepreneurial ecosystem. I am proud to lend my support to this exciting initiative and look forward to working with the City of Atlanta to further its commitment to championing the inclusion and success of women entrepreneurs.”

Board members of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative are:

  • Chair - Carol Tomé, Chief Financial Officer, The Home Depot
  • Kat Cole, President, Cinnabon
  • Grace Fricks, MBA, President and CEO, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)
  • Claire “Yum” Arnold, CEO, Leapfrog Services
  • Gerard Gibbons, President, U.S. Sales, United Parcel Service (UPS)
  • Eloisa Klementich, Managing Director, Business Development, Invest Atlanta
  • Nzinga Shaw, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Atlanta Hawks and Phillips Arena

The Mayor 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 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. Goldman Sachs selected ACE as a partner through a competitive bid process to select lenders that could expand the 10,000 Small Businesses program into underserved urban areas. ACE also received grant support to expand its technical assistance programming and to cover a loan reserve.

“Getting capital into the hands of small business owners is critical in helping them grow their businesses and create jobs,” said David Fox, Goldman Sachs region head for Private Wealth Management in the Southeast and head of the Atlanta office.  “We are pleased to work with ACE and Mayor Reed to give small business owners the funds that will contribute to the growth of their businesses and the broader Atlanta economy.”

In addition to Goldman Sachs’ 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, please visit: www.10KSBapply.com.

As a nonprofit community lender, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) specializes in small-business loans coupled with business advisory services to support entrepreneurs and small businesses.  Since 2000, ACE has loaned more than $28 million and helped create or retain more than 4,000 jobs.  ACE is an SBA Microloan and Community Advantage Intermediary and a U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) serving Atlanta and North Georgia. 

“The vote of confidence by the Mayor and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses allows ACE to provide additional capital and business advisory services to more Main Street businesses,” said Grace Fricks, President and CEO of ACE.  “In 2014, 62% of ACE loans were to women and 43% were to minority business owners. Today's announcements mean ACE can ensure access to capital for every woman in Atlanta's Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative. Atlanta is a great city for small business and with these partnerships, it can only get better.”

To apply for a loan, please visit http://www.aceloans.org/.