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1,000 Black Businesses to Benefit from new local campaign launched by AWBI



Program Announcement Was One Outcome of AWBI’s First Community Wealth-Building Forum 

 ATLANTA– The Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative (AWBI) announced a groundbreaking program, “Advancing Enterprise Prosperity: 1,000 Black Businesses in 1,000 Days” designed to cultivate shared prosperity across the Atlanta community.

The first-of-its kind initiative will bolster 1,000 African-American owned enterprises by providing funding and resources they need to survive and thrive. The program ultimately helps local Black-owned businesses contribute to their community’s economy and grow their operations by hiring at least one employee and offering living wages. It will focus on scalable, growth-stage and established companies in high-growth sectors in Southeast, Southwest and Northwest Atlanta as well as along the BeltLine overlay. AWBI will support: professional services; technical assistance; funding and resources centered on business growth and scale; neighborhood-level workforce development; as well as retention and anti-displacement plans.

“We are so excited to launch this initiative,” said Latresa McLawhorn Ryan, executive director, AWBI. “Small businesses are the driving force for the U.S. economy. A 2020 Citi report estimated the U.S. would have generated $16 trillion in additional economic output since 2000 if it closed the racial wealth gap. This program will increase the financial strength of growth-stage and legacy businesses while creating a multitude of opportunities for the community.”

The initiative was announced to a group of prominent leaders from across the country gathered for Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative’s Community Wealth Building Forum to discuss how to holistically close the racial wealth gap and create greater opportunities for shared prosperity for Atlanta’s Black community. Themed, “A New Normal for Shared Prosperity,” the AWBI-hosted event amplified voices of strong and passionate advocates working to redefine the meaning of wealth and confront and erase systemic barriers that deny Black people the ability to create and enjoy shared prosperity. Yesterday’s forum is the first of a series AWBI has planned.

“Atlanta has long enjoyed the narrative as home to upwardly mobile African Americans and Black-owned businesses,” said Ryan. “Yet, there is great disparity in the value between Black-owned and white-owned businesses. The longstanding inequity and the vast disparities impacting Black residents, who account for more than half of the city’s population, has resulted in a formidable racial wealth gap.”

“1,000 Black Business in 1,000 Days” is just one of the strategies of AWBI’s community wealth building framework considering national and international best practices. The nonprofit organization will invest $5 million as well as leverage and pool additional capital sources for its three-year campaign. The campaign was adopted from a recommendation in Prosperity Now’s, “Advancing Collective Prosperity through Entrepreneurship” report, a data-driven and research-based analysis commissioned by AWBI, Annie E. Casey Foundation and The Kendeda Fund.

Joining AWBI for the program is Emory University and Emory Healthcare, the pilot anchor collaborative partner. “In partnership with AWBI, we will reimagine procurement policies and processes to advance equitable procurement with a focus on leveraging our purchasing power to connect and expand opportunities for Black entrepreneurs, small businesses, and workforce,” said Alan Anderson, assistant vice president, University Partnership, Emory University. “Our efforts will harness the economic influence of Emory University and Healthcare Systems, thereby strengthening the local economy and expanding opportunities for Black-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

“We will recalibrate the conversation beyond simply individual gains to collective and shared prosperity,” said AWBI Board Member Tene Taylor, The Kendeda Fund. “ We expect to significantly increase revenue for Black-owned businesses and foster equitable neighborhood revitalization. A more viable and profitable Black economic ecosystem benefits the entire city, everyone.”

Other confirmed and potential partners include:

Emory University Westside Works
The Village Market Atlanta Career Rise
Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Project Equity The Ke’nekt
Grove Park Foundation  


Our immediate focus is to establish an equitable procurement model in partnership with Emory University and Healthcare Systems and prepare businesses to successfully access new procurement opportunities and additional capital,” added Ryan.

For more information on the campaign, please register at

About AWBI

The Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative (AWBI) is a data-centered nonprofit dedicated to closing the racial wealth gap. AWBI uniquely leverages national and international best practices, bold ideas, thought leadership, movement building and strategic capital to create shared prosperity for Black people in Atlanta. The organization works to dismantle the systemic barriers and reimagine new paths to generating economic equity through community wealth-building strategies. For more information, please visit


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Last updated on May 5, 2021

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