At an event held at Atlanta City Hall, Invest Atlanta and Mayor Kasim Reed announced the 14 winners of the MLK Ignite Capital Grant program, which awards $100,000 to small businesses located on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. Under Mayor Reed’s leadership, Invest Atlanta created the grant program as part of the city’s overall efforts to revitalize the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive Corridor. The 14 small businesses will receive $5,000-$10,000 each to meet their immediate, short-term needs, such as building façade upgrades, property improvements and equipment purchases. Atlanta City Councilmember Ivory Young, Jr. joined Mayor Reed and Invest Atlanta CEO Dr. Eloisa Klementich for the ceremony today.
“The street honoring Dr. King’s legacy in Atlanta should and will be one of the most attractive, vibrant and important streets in our city,” said Mayor Reed. “By investing in small businesses along the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive Corridor, we are supporting the women and men who have supported their communities for years. These businesses offer local residents more choices to shop, dine and work closer to home. I congratulate each one of our grant recipients, and look forward to the changes and improvements they make with the support of the MLK Ignite Capital Grant.”
Each small business was required to provide 30 percent of the cost of the capital investment they proposed to make for their business. The grant award covered the remaining 70 percent of the capital cost. The grant funds come from the $10 million federal TIGER VII grant awarded to the City of Atlanta in August 2016, and is the centerpiece of the $35 million renovation to improve safety and mobility and promote economic development along more than seven miles of this this historic street.
“The future strength and equity of Atlanta’s economy depend largely on making effective investments in commercial corridors like MLK Drive,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “The work we’re doing to support businesses through this program goes hand in hand with our economic growth strategies to increase small business activity and provide access to retail amenities in target areas throughout the city.”
The grant recipients are:
- Latifah Allah, Unity Hair Salon;
- Terrance Barron, University Barbershop;
- Khadijah Baynes, The Beauty Industry;
- Phoebe Dawson, Alfonzo Dawson Mortuary, Inc.;
- Kenneth Dean, All-Pro Insurance Agency;
- Marion Hargett, Jamal’s Buffalo Wings;
- Imani Maisonelt, Imani’s Too Hair & More Salon;
- Edward Martin, Murden’s Barber Shop;
- Jaseph Moultrie, Jr., Aesthetic Ink & Design;
- Dr. Charles Nichols, Alphia Health & Wellness Solutions;
- Corey Reeves, Aldridge Services, Inc.;
- Hope Stoney, Hope Health & Wellness Center;
- Andrew Taylor, Pro Cuts ATL; and
- Pauline Warrior, Warnun Industries, Ltd.
The MLK Capital Ignite Grants were funded through the Economic Opportunity Fund for Business Retention and Expansion, approved by the Atlanta City Council in November 2016. Under the leadership of Mayor Reed, the Invest Atlanta board of directors gave final approval for the funding in August 2017.