Mayor Dickens Announces $1 million Loan Program to Help Startups

By Staff Writer Atlanta Trend
  • Oct 20, 2023

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens has announced the launch of a new $1 million loan program to support local technology startups as they scale amid an ever-changing market. Through the Atlanta Startup Growth Loan Program (ASGL), Atlanta technology startups are eligible to apply for a direct loan of up to $150,000 to grow and scale as well as acquire new assets or update existing assets.


The ASGL program is the fourth initiative and first technology focused program that United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta have rolled out as a part of the Atlanta Open for Business Fund, supported by Wells Fargo. The fund is made possible by a $20 million donation from Wells Fargo to help the owners of Atlanta small businesses own more of their businesses’ assets—including property and equipment— scale and fund physical upgrades to their facilities.


“Last year, Atlanta startups raised nearly $1.7 billion in funding—the second-highest amount of funding allocated in recent years,” said Mayor Andre Dickens. “That speaks to our city’s ever-growing status as a technology epicenter, and this new program and funding will further substantiate the strength of our tech ecosystem.”


Loan recipients must be a startup, incorporated within the last five years with a City of Atlanta business license and must have a scalable high-impact solution within technology. Startups must demonstrate growth potential in their sector (AI, SaaS, Ecommerce, -Manufacturing Sustainability, FinTech, etc.) and may operate from home, commercial space, incubator, accelerator, or co-working space in the city of Atlanta.


Metro Atlanta is home to more than 30 corporate innovation centers, making Atlanta the highest concentrated city of startups and innovators in the Southeast.


“Technology startups are vital to the growth of the Atlanta’s economy as they create jobs, increase our city’s competitiveness and very often – address an unmet need,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “The Atlanta Startup Growth Loan program will extend our reach and impact because we will be in a position to help eliminate funding as a barrier to their ability to grow.”


“The Atlanta Startup Growth Loan Program nurtures innovation and empowers local entrepreneurs,” says Milton J. Little, Jr., president and CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta. “By providing vital financial support to technology startups, we're fostering a thriving ecosystem that will drive progress and opportunity in Atlanta. This investment is not just in businesses but in the future of our community.”


Loans are for technology, inventory, the purchase or renovation of commercial space within the city of Atlanta, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, and signage.


“Being able to acquire or upgrade assets can be transformative for a small business, particularly those in the early stages,” said Jenny Flores, head of small business growth philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “With this program, we are being intentional about getting capital out to entrepreneurs in a way that drives growth for each small business but also the Atlanta economy.”


Previously, United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta successfully launched three other programs within the Atlanta Open for Business Fund—the Atlanta Recovery Loan Program (ARLP) that provides 3 percent interest loans to small businesses interested in acquiring tangible business assets; the Commercial Property Improvement Grant (CPIG) providing grants for small businesses of up to $50,000 for exterior and interior enhancements to their business; and the Commercial Downpayment Assistance Program (CDPA) providing Atlanta small businesses a direct loan of up to 20 percent of commercial property costs up to $200,000 to acquire commercial property.