A new $3.5 million loan program has been created by the city of Atlanta and its mayor to promote small regional companies through generating equity. Atlanta small businesses can apply for a direct loan of up to 20% of commercial property costs, with a cap of $200,000, through the Atlanta Commercial Down Payment Assistance Loan Program (CDPA). Loans are given for the purchase or acquisition of a commercially zoned building within the city of Atlanta, as well as for any necessary improvements. The loan can be converted to a grant if the business makes consistent payments for ten years and complies with clawback requirements. The fund is made possible by a $20 million gift from Wells Fargo to assist Atlanta small business owners in owning more of their company’s assets, including real estate and equipment, and to finance physical improvements to their facilities.
“The timing of programs like the Atlanta Commercial Down Payment Assistance Loan Program and other companion resources we’ve launched are crucial because an estimated 25 percent of businesses do not open again after a major disaster like a global pandemic,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “What we are doing with the support of Wells Fargo is offering small businesses resources that give them the means to withstand economic uncertainly to build long-term wealth.”
“Supporting racially and ethnically diverse small business owners is essential to the equitable growth of our communities and to the economic success of Greater Atlanta,” said Milton J. Little, Jr., President and CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta. “It’s through partnerships like ours with Wells Fargo, the City of Atlanta and Invest Atlanta that we are able to give small businesses in our city the tools and resources they need to grow and thrive.”
“United Way and Invest Atlanta have been working at an accelerated pace to create impact for diverse-owned small businesses,” said Jenny Flores, head of small business growth philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “These funding opportunities are enabling entrepreneurs to grow their business assets, which in turn can build their long-term wealth and strengthen the Atlanta community.”
Loan recipients must be established small businesses with a business license from the City of Atlanta that are interested in purchasing commercial real estate in Atlanta, with a focus on low-income census tracts, Federal Opportunity Zone areas, underprivileged neighborhoods, or New Markets Tax Credit-approved area neighborhoods. Businesses must also show that their sector has room for expansion.
“Healthy, thriving local businesses are a cornerstone of our communities,” said Mayor Andre Dickens. “Inflation and economic strains resulting from the pandemic have made many small businesses increasingly vulnerable to displacement. The Atlanta Open for Business Fund is designed to help Atlanta businesses keep their doors open and expand and develop a resiliency that withstands unforeseen economic challenges.”
Small business owners can apply and learn more about the Atlanta Commercial Down Payment Assistance Loan Program at www.investatlanta.com/cdpa. By going to www.atlinbusiness.com, small businesses interested in the program can contact Invest Atlanta for help with their application.
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