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How Atlanta's Sweet Auburn District hopes to help Black-owned businesses thrive

The grant from the financial institution aims to help create a hub for Black entrepreneurs.

ATLANTA — As part of its commitment to addressing financial inequality, Bank of America is working with local community organization Sweet Auburn Works to provide resources for Black-owned businesses. 

The banking giant recently announced a partnership with the Sweet Auburn Works Accelerator Fund to provide grants for minority-owned businesses. Each grant is worth up to $25,000 dollars and is designed to help entrepreneurs from diverse communities. 

Sweet Auburn Works is a non-profit organization aimed at restoring the Sweet Auburn District. Part of the plan involves opening a physical space where entrepreneurs can host pop-ups and access resources without having to get bogged down by the financial commitment of opening a brick-and-mortar store.

"Our job is to ensure that our businesses, our residents, and our owners have some agency in their growth and have the ability to manage their future on their terms," LeJuano Varnell said.

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Varnelle is the executive director of Sweet Auburn Works. He explained the organization is also dedicated to preservation in addition to economic development. 

"We've been working with the city of Atlanta to ensure that organizations like ours can grow and represent the rest of in-town Atlanta," he said. "So any other internal neighborhood that believes that preservation, growth, preservation-base growth is their method of ensuring their residents, their business owners and their landing stakeholders have the ability to grow on their own terms."

More information about the initiative can be found here.

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