Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Helps Small Businesses in Georgia During COVID-19

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs(ACE)
TJ Kaikobad and his wife, Danielle, of Cyra’s Simple Goodness Restaurant in Dalton,
Georgia, recently received ACE’s Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Photo courtesy of Erik Voss

With ARC support, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) in Cleveland, Georgia, is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing access to capital and business advisory services to small business owners in a 15 county region of Northwest Georgia. When the COVID crisis hit in March, ACE quickly offered payment deferments to existing loan clients, launched an emergency loan product with up to 6 months of payment deferments, and facilitated $175,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses in Appalachian Georgia.

This support helped eight businesses — the majority of which were led by entrepreneurs of color — retain 29 jobs in the area. To further support businesses impacted by the  COVID crisis, ACE provides technical assistance to small businesses in the form of webinars, workshops, and one-to-one counseling services for marketing, inventory control, employee relations and and other business operations. ACE has also established a peer-to-peer group for Spanish speaking small business owners to address COVID related challenges.