Mayor Announces $3.5 million Loan Program to Help Small Businesses Acquire Property

Staff Report

Thursday, November 17th, 2022

Mayor Andre Dickens announced the launch of a new $3.5 million loan program to support local small businesses by building equity. Through the Atlanta Commercial Down Payment Assistance Loan Program (CDPA), Atlanta small businesses are eligible to apply for a direct loan of up to 20 percent of commercial property costs up to $200,000 to acquire commercial property.

The CDPA program is the third initiative that United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta have rolled out as a part of the Atlanta Open for Business Fund, supported by Wells Fargo. The fund is made possible by a $20 million donation from Wells Fargo to help the owners of Atlanta small businesses own more of their businesses’ assets—including property and equipment—and fund physical upgrades to their facilities.

“Healthy, thriving local businesses are a cornerstone of our communities,” said Mayor Andre Dickens. “Inflation and economic strains resulting from the pandemic have made many small businesses increasingly vulnerable to displacement. The Atlanta Open for Business Fund is designed to help Atlanta businesses keep their doors open and expand and develop a resiliency that withstands unforeseen economic challenges.”

Loan recipients must be an existing small business with a City of Atlanta business license that is interested in acquiring commercial real estate in the city of Atlanta with emphasis in low-income census tracts, Federal Opportunity Zone areas, disadvantaged neighborhoods, or a New Markets Tax Credit approved area neighborhood. Businesses must also demonstrate growth potential in their industry.

“The timing of programs like the Atlanta Commercial Down Payment Assistance Loan Program and other companion resources we’ve launched are crucial because an estimated 25 percent of businesses do not open again after a major disaster like a global pandemic,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “What we are doing with the support of Wells Fargo is offering small businesses resources that give them the means to withstand economic uncertainly to build long-term wealth.”

“Supporting racially and ethnically diverse small business owners is essential to the equitable growth of our communities and to the economic success of Greater Atlanta,” said Milton J. Little, Jr., President and CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta. “It’s through partnerships like ours with Wells Fargo, the City of Atlanta and Invest Atlanta that we are able to give small businesses in our city the tools and resources they need to grow and thrive.”

Loans are for the purchase/acquisition and related renovations of a building zoned commercial within the city of Atlanta. After 10 years of consistent payments and meeting claw back provisions, a business can apply to convert the loan to a grant.

To learn more about and apply for the Atlanta Commercial Down Payment Assistance Loan Program, small business owners should visit Small businesses interested in the program may request assistance with their application through Invest Atlanta by visiting

“United Way and Invest Atlanta have been working at an accelerated pace to create impact for diverse-owned small businesses,” said Jenny Flores, head of small business growth philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “These funding opportunities are enabling entrepreneurs to grow their business assets, which in turn can build their long-term wealth and strengthen the Atlanta community.”

In June, United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta successfully launched the first Atlanta Open for Business program—the Atlanta Recovery Loan Program (ARLP) that provides 3 percent interest loans to small businesses interested in acquiring tangible business assets. The Commercial Property Improvement Grant (CPIG) was launched in August providing grants for small businesses of up to $50,000 for exterior and interior enhancements to their business.

United Way and Invest Atlanta are distributing the Atlanta Open for Business Fund as a mix of grants and loan programs with a focus on Black-owned and other diverse-owned businesses. Learn more about that program here.