Albany organization receives $1M to help Southwest Ga. businesses stay open

Albany organization receives $1M to help Southwest Ga. businesses stay open

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - One Albany organization has received funds to help Southwest Georgia businesses stay open during this critical holiday season for small businesses.

Albany Community Together (ACT!) is getting more than $1 million to help small businesses stay open and save jobs.

The organization was among the first to receive funds from Wells Fargo’s new Open Business Fund.

ACT! said they will primarily use the funds for lending capital, loan loss reserves, and subsidies for loans between $25,000 to $50,000.

The funds will help about 30 small businesses create or retain at least 45 jobs.

Wells Fargo launched the Open for Business Fund this summer as an approximately $400 million small business recovery effort across the U.S. to help entrepreneurs recover and rebuild during the pandemic. The initiative focuses on increasing access to capital, technical expertise, and long-term resiliency programs and will continue into 2021.

“Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund is another avenue of support and enlists the expertise of organizations like ACT! to urgently help Georgia small businesses recover and preserve the jobs they provide in the community,” said Jeretha Peters, Wells Fargo Advisors branch manager and ACT! board member. “We can all play a role in brightening the holiday season for small business owners by offering resources, shopping local, and shining a light on how much small businesses contribute to the heart of our community.”

ACT! President and CEO Thelma Johnson said the $1 million award will allow the organization to be creative in its support of our small businesses “as we assist them in recovering, rebuilding and relaunching.”

“ACT! understands the needs of our geographic footprint, and with the funding from Wells Fargo, we intend to make an impact to help sustain those small businesses hardest hit,” Johnson said. “In addition, we will continue to provide business development services, capital, and connections while in the midst of a global pandemic and help businesses stabilize post-pandemic.”

Albany Mayor Bo Dorough said local citizens are grateful to Wells Fargo for selecting ACT! as one of the first recipients of its Open for Business Fund.

“The generous grant of $1 million will provide loans for operating capital and other business needs to approximately 30 small and disadvantaged businesses, which have been disproportionately impacted by the economic lockdown and stagnation resulting from COVID-19,” the mayor said. “These funds will assist those businesses in continuing operations, retaining employees, and repositioning for recovery.”

In addition to these new grants, Wells Fargo has donated more than $300,000 this year in Georgia in support of small business recovery and relief in the midst of the pandemic.

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