Kamala Harris photo

FACT SHEET: Vice President Kamala Harris Kicks Off Nationwide Economic Opportunity Tour in Atlanta

April 29, 2024

Vice President Harris's visit highlights recent $158 million Reconnecting Communities Award for The Stitch project to reconnect Atlanta neighborhoods and drive economic growth

Vice President Harris to meet with small business owners who are taking advantage of Biden-Harris Administration resources to help launch and scale their businesses

Today, Vice President Kamala Harris is kicking off a nationwide Economic Opportunity Tour with a stop in Atlanta, GA. During this multi-state tour, the Vice President will be traveling across the country to highlight how the Biden-Harris Administration has built economic opportunity, supported communities, and delivered for the American people. The tour reflects President Biden and Vice President Harris' commitment to invest in all of America, create an economy in which every person has the freedom to thrive, and help underserved entrepreneurs access historic investments available locally to launch and scale their businesses, build wealth, and strengthen their communities.

While in Atlanta, Vice President Harris will highlight how the city is receiving $158 million for "The Stitch" project to reconnect midtown to downtown Atlanta through the Biden-Harris Administration's first-of-its-kind Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program. When constructed, the Downtown Connector sliced through communities like Sweet Auburn, cutting it off from Downtown and displacing hundreds of homes and businesses in primarily Black working-class neighborhoods. The Stitch project will create a 14-acre mixed-use development cap on three-quarters of the Downtown Connector—increasing access to jobs, housing, education, and healthcare and creating public parks, plazas, and surface streets for walking and biking.

The Stitch is only one of the projects awarded across more than 40 states as part of the announcement of $3.3 billion from the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program, which is funded by the President's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. This program will help rectify the damage done by past transportation projects – decades of harmful urban renewal projects and legacy policy decisions in the buildout of the Federal highway system that the Department of Transportation estimates displaced over a million people and businesses – while driving economic growth in underserved communities and helping advance racial equity.

The Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program is yet another way the Biden-Harris Administration is advancing economic opportunity, while taking on the legacy of harm in communities that have grappled with decades of disinvestment or economic distress. The Administration is focused on supporting economic comebacks in communities across the country; especially those that have suffered from decades of disinvestment.

The President and Vice President's strategy for investing in all of America has helped lead to a historically strong and equitable recovery, and a small business boom that is lifting communities across the country. Under the Biden-Harris Administration we've seen the three strongest years for new business applications on record. At the same time, Black business ownership has grown at its fastest pace in 30 years and the Latino new entrepreneurship rate reaching an all-time high in 2023. Today, the White House released the Building on the Biden-Harris Small Business Boom report to celebrate the start of National Small Business week and actions the Administration has taken to deliver for small businesses including:

  • Setting New Records – over $178 billion, representing more than 28% of federal contract spending – in Federal Procurement Dollars Awarded to Small Businesses, including over $76 billion to Small Disadvantaged Businesses in Fiscal Year 2023
  • On pace to nearly double the number of small dollar loans to small businesses in Fiscal Year 2024 thanks to Biden-Harris Administration policies. Less than one year since implementing policy reforms to increase access to small dollar loans, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is on pace to increase approved 7(a) loans under $150,000 by a third compared to Fiscal Year 2023 and nearly double the number of small loans approved compared to the final year of the previous Administration.
  • Through the American Rescue Plan's State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), Treasury has approved over $8 billion in SSBCI capital support for small businesses that is expected to catalyze at least $10 in private investment for each dollar of SSBCI capital funding.
  • On track to deliver more than $250 billion to more than 500,000 small businesses through SBA's lending programs by the end of the decade, meeting Biden-Harris Administration commitment. Since President Biden and Vice President Harris took office, SBA has taken numerous steps to expand access to capital – including finalizing rules to increase small dollar lending, expanding programs that help connect traditionally underserved businesses with resources, and revamping its Lender Match portal – leading to the delivery of nearly $124 billion in financing to small businesses through its 7(a), 504, and microloan programs to date.

Additionally, as part of her economic opportunity tour stop in Atlanta, the Vice President is helping highlight the historic Biden-Harris Administration investments in access to capital and small business support that are available to help entrepreneurs scale and grow their businesses in Georgia, including:

  • With a $65 million investment from the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (Georgia AIM) Coalition, led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, is driving the equitable development and deployment of innovation and talent in artificial intelligence for manufacturing across Georgia. Built as a network of over 40 partners – including the Technical College System of Georgia, Spelman College, Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs, Georgia Cyber Center at Augusta University, Technology Association of Georgia Education, 21st Century Partnership, SW Regional Commission, University of Georgia and others – Georgia AIM is establishing an ecosystem focused on workforce development, technology innovation, and resilience in manufacturing.

Georgia AIM is one of 21 regional coalitions awarded funding through the ARP's $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) – led by the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration and the most impactful regional economic development competition in decades. These regional coalitions are growing critical industries that will strengthen regional economies, promote inclusive and equitable growth, and create thousands of good-paying jobs in industries of the future such as clean energy, next-generation manufacturing, and biotechnology. Across the nation, BBBRC projects are dedicating $140 million to help increase new business growth and entrepreneurial activity and $100 million to help small and midsized businesses adopt new processes and enter new markets.

  • Through five lending and equity programs, Georgia's ARP-funded State Small Business Credit Initiative is expected to deliver close to $200 million in capital support to Georgia small businesses and catalyze roughly $2 billion in private funding. Entrepreneurs in Georgia can apply through state-approved lenders to access these programs.

Georgia's SSBCI program is part of the President and Vice President's historic nearly $10 billion nationwide investment in capital access for small businesses through the Treasury Department's ARP-funded SSBCI, which is expected to leverage $10 in private capital for every $1 of SSBCI capital and support roughly forty-six states and territories committing nearly $3 billion from SSBCI to equity-based financing programs, including over $1.4 billion through partnerships with private venture capital funds – the single largest infusion of federal funding for equity participation in early-stage small businesses in history. These investments are expected to catalyze over $30 billion in additional private investment and follow-on funding over the decade that will help underserved entrepreneurs tap into a critical source of capital for business development and wealth creation that has traditionally suffered from some of the most restrictive barriers to access.

  • The ARP-funded Capital Readiness Program (CRP) is helping the Urban League of Greater Atlanta to deliver incubator and accelerator services through its Entrepreneurship Center to historically underserved entrepreneurs that are starting or operating enterprises in high-growth industries including healthcare, climate-resilient technology, infrastructure, and transportation and logistics. Capital Readiness programing is helping underserved entrepreneurs get the mentoring, coaching, and guidance in relationship building needed to help prepare for, secure, and deploy capital.

The Urban League of Greater Atlanta was one of the 43 winners of the $125 million CRP awards competition announced by Vice President Harris in August of 2023. This critical funding, administered by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), is the largest-ever direct Federal investment in small business incubators and accelerators of its kind and the largest initiative in the over 50-year history of the MBDA.

  • Three Georgia-based Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) received over $125 million in Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP) investments to increase their lending and investments to support small businesses and consumers in their communities, including two minority depository institutions (MDIs): Citizens Trust Bank in Atlanta and the Carver Financial Corporation in Savannah. These investments, stemming from funding Vice President Harris secured during her time in the Senate, are supporting low- and moderate-income community financial institutions across the country in providing loans, grants, and forbearance for small businesses, minority-owned businesses, and consumers, especially in low-income and underserved communities. Nationally, Treasury projects that the more than $8.57 billion invested in 175 federally-insured depository institutions that are CDFIs or MDIs through ECIP may increase lending in Hispanic communities by nearly $58 billion and in Black communities by up to $80 billion over the next decade.

Kamala Harris, FACT SHEET: Vice President Kamala Harris Kicks Off Nationwide Economic Opportunity Tour in Atlanta Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/371484

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