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Atlanta selected for accelerator programme

The city’s vision is for One Atlanta where neighbourhoods, communities and businesses thrive

Atlanta joins El Paso, Long Beach, Newark and Rochester in the accelerator
Atlanta joins El Paso, Long Beach, Newark and Rochester in the accelerator

The city of Atlanta has been chosen for the City Accelerator programme, an initiative of the Citi Foundation and Living Cities, which aims to foster innovation and promote collaboration between urban leaders to address pressing issues cities face.


Atlanta will join four other cities in this latest City Accelerator cohort – El Paso, Long Beach, Newark and Rochester – which will work together over the next year to pursue a range of projects that support the growth of local minority-owned businesses and the creation of additional jobs in each community.


The programme includes a $100,000 grant to each cohort city to support local business and job growth. Atlanta’s initiative will fund a program providing access to affordable real estate and technical assistance to economically underserved businesses in Southwest Atlanta.


“Creating innovative ways to build opportunity and equity through job growth, business incubation and workforce training is a priority for our Administration and our city,” said Keisha Lance Bottoms, mayor.


“Our vision for One Atlanta includes a city where neighbourhoods, communities and businesses thrive. We look forward to working with the Citi Foundation and Living Cities through the City Accelerator to realise that goal.”


Atlanta’s initiative will be launched at Pitsburgh Yards, a 30-acre, mixed-use site under development in Southwest Atlanta. Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development authority, will lead the project in partnership with One Atlanta: the Mayor’s Office of Equity; Diversity and Inclusion; the Mayor’s Office of Innovation and Performance; and local community partner, the Annie E Casey Foundation.


The Annie E Casey Foundation serves as the primary developer of Pittsburgh Yards as well as an impact investor in social service, workforce development, and financial programmes for the Pittsburgh community.


Through this strategic partnership, it will provide additional visionary support to redevelop Pittsburgh Yards into a commercial, industrial, and retail site on the Atlanta Beltline. Additionally, several commercial spaces at Pittsburgh Yards will be reserved for purchase by small business owners which are selected to participate in the programme.


The programme will help address four major challenges experienced by minority-owned businesses: limited access to capital based on traditional underwriting criteria, debt service payment capabilities, difficulty purchasing commercial space, and preparing for business growth.

In addition to providing access to affordable commercial space at Pittsburgh Yards, the project team will offer technical assistance to help sole proprietorships increase business value by expanding hiring opportunities.


“The Annie E Casey Foundation’s focus in redeveloping Pittsburgh Yards has always been on providing more equitable opportunities for residents in Southwest Atlanta,” added Kweku Forstall, director of the foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site.


“We’re excited that this funding has been secured and hopeful that it will seed meaningful activity for entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities.”


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