Invest Atlanta, the city of Atlanta’s economic development agency, has launched the Atlanta Catalyst Fund, a new small business loan program funded by Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. (AEMI). AEMI is a subsidiary of Invest Atlanta and certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
The program is designed to provide investment to revitalize underserved areas of Atlanta. Small businesses can apply for revolving loans between $50,000 and $100,000. Loans are evaluated by Invest Atlanta’s seven-member Credit Review Committee, which is comprised of bankers.
“Invest Atlanta is excited to offer this new loan program to support the retention and expansion of small businesses in Atlanta,” said Brian P. McGowan, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and this is another tool we now have to assist our entrepreneurs with operating capital or funding for real estate improvements."
The fund has already selected its first recipient, Lottafrutta. The restaurant, located at 590 Auburn Ave. NE, opened in 2006. Lottafrutta will use the $50,000, 5-year loan to expand its current location and purchase new equipment.
AEMI seeks to spur job creation, economic development and neighborhood revitalization. AEMI utilizes the federal New Markets Tax Credit program (NMTC) to attract private sector investment to finance community investments.
“Atlanta Emerging Markets created the small business loan fund from operating reserves and income from previous transactions,” said Tyrone Rachal, managing director of redevelopment for Invest Atlanta and president of AEMI. “Few entities pledge to use their fee income from transactions to directly benefit low-income communities.”