Atlanta was recently named as the top city to start a business in 2024 by real estate website Home Bay. This acknowledgement came after the Atlanta metro area was named the best place to start your own business in 2023 by LinkedIn. As an agency committed to advancing economic opportunities available to underrepresented business owners, Atlanta Housing recently celebrated two initiatives dedicated to providing residents with resources that promote professional growth.

In March, the Ignite Small Business Academy graduated its largest class to date. During the four-week program, participants in the academy learned strategies, best practices, and different perspectives on how to strengthen their business for long-term success. Classes focused on strategic growth planning, B2B marketing strategies, financial planning and management, and procurement fundamentals. The graduating class of 66 business owners represented a diverse field of sectors including entertainment, sanitation, sewer engineering, and more.

Also in March, the Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Project coordinated a business showcase for the Atlanta Housing Resident Entrepreneurship cohort. The showcase marked a significant milestone in the entrepreneurial journey of recent graduates who participated in a six-week virtual program that taught skills to start a micro-business, develop a business plan, market to consumers, price goods and services, and set goals. Members of the cohort also received refurbished laptops, bookbags, and office supplies to support their business goals.

Atlanta Housing understands that lifting families and individuals to economic freedom requires a holistic approach that goes beyond providing affordable housing. One way to ensure this is by creating economic mobility pathways that include access to job training and preparedness, and developing partnerships that facilitate career exploration and job placement.

Educating residents and small businesses about doing business with Atlanta Housing can create one such avenue for economic empowerment. AH’s development activity is often one of the largest sources of economic activity within a given neighborhood. Specifically, new construction, substantial rehabilitation, and significant modernization projects are a catalyst for neighborhoods and can create an enormous impact for residents, minority-owned and small businesses. AH is intentional about creating employment and contracting opportunities for our residents and small businesses to thrive. In fact, one of the agency’s key targets in our 5-Year Strategic Plan is to achieve 35% participation in eligible AH contracts for minority-, women-, and resident-owned small businesses. For more information on Atlanta Housing programs available for small businesses, visit HERE.