Project Equity Launches an Initiative to Retain Black-owned Legacy Businesses

Staff Report

Friday, May 13th, 2022

Today Project Equity launched an initiative to retain Black-owned legacy businesses and preserve jobs in Atlanta, bolster the local economy and generate wealth as business owners retire in partnership with Atlanta Wealth Building Initiativeand Morehouse College. In the Atlanta metro region, according to a study by Project Equity,28,943 businesses are 20 years old or older, accounting for over $163 billion in revenue. These businesses employ nearly 427,400 workers in the area. In addition, one-third of the workforce in the region are Black or African American, and 6,274 businesses with employees are Black- or African American-owned. 

With half of the business owners in this region beginning to retire, it is time to turn risk into opportunity. By selling businesses to their employees, owners can preserve their legacies, keep companies rooted in the local economy, and sustain quality jobs. In the Atlanta metro region, employee ownership can help close the racial wealth gap by providing many more Black or African American workers the opportunity to participate in and benefit from business ownership. The power of employee ownership translates to 92% higher household net worth, 53% longer median job tenure and 33% higher median wage income, according to a study by the National Center for Employee Ownership. 

“With the vast majority of retiring small business owners having no exit plan, we can preserve local businesses, and importantly, Black-owned businesses, and build wealth for Black workers through employee ownership. By strengthening Atlanta’s economic resiliency and protecting local jobs and revenue,” said Project Equity CEO Evan Edwards, “we can preserve what makes Atlanta special while creating equity and wealth for all employees.”

Project Equity is joining together with regional partners in an effort to expand the number of employee-owned businesses in the Atlanta Metro region. Employee ownership retains businesses as owner’s retire, supports recovery in the wake of COVID-19, and builds wealth for workers. Partners, including Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative and Morehouse College, will collaborate on business outreach, educational initiatives, and research activities.