Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens took the podium under an extremely hot sun in the courtyard of The Beautiful restaurant. He wasted no time getting to the point of his appearance Tuesday afternoon. “Our administration working with Invest Atlanta has continuously explored ways that we can support the economic heartbeat of our community, so today we are announcing the bulk of the nearly $10 million we set aside for the small business community,” said Dickens.
$8.2 million in grants through the Resurgence Grant Fund will go directly to “hundreds of businesses and nonprofits cover the cost of Covid-related expenses.”
$600,000 of the $1 million the city set aside for the Elevate Grant Program for local artists was also announced during the press conference. The remaining $400,000 of the grant will be allocated this fall, according to Dickens.
Prior to the check announcements and presentations, Dickens, referred to The Beautiful as a good luck charm of sorts after having held campaign events there during his run for mayor. He is quite familiar with the neighborhood having grown up nearby. “I’m from the Westside so we came here to put it down first,” he joked.
“The Resurgence Grant Fund is designed to be a lifeline for small business and the small businesses community,” said Dickens who added the response from applicants was “overwhelming.” He added that that level of response only highlighted the need for grants like this one.
There are more than 400 small businesses and non-profits that will receive grants within the coming days. The average amount of the grant is just over $14,000. The average size of the work force at the businesses that will receive grants is between 4-5 employees. Of those businesses, 79% are Black-owned and 85% are minority-owned, according to data provided by the City of Atlanta.
About those demographic specifics Dickens said, “Lets give it up for the diversity in our pool of applicants.”
One of the small businesses that will be immediately assisted by the grant is The Beautiful, which has been in business since 1979. The restaurants chief financial officer, Lucy Sims, was in attendance and was presented with check for an undisclosed sum. The money, she said, will be used to keep the popular restaurant afloat. They no longer see breakfast due to a lack of staff. “I really miss breakfast,” she said. “I’m still in a state of shock,” Sims said after being called on stage to accept her check. “We were all impacted by 2020, we were closed for the first time for nine months.”
There were 2,470 applicants, three times as many as in 2020 during the first round of grants, according to Invest Atlanta. The City of Atlanta and Invest Atlanta also revealed that 20 independent contractors were hired in order to review the applications. One of those contractors was on hand for the press conference.
“We are so grateful, there’s no way I can express to you how this grant can help the restaurant,” said Sims.