AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce is working on helping local small businesses to expand and grow by launching new grants and funds of nearly $500,000.

Local businesses are getting ready for success with the launch of the Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce and City of Augusta Business of Equity fund. 

“This exciting day for those small businesses of Augusta-Richmond County. Why? Because of the Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce, and it is because of them and their vision,” Director for housing and Community Development Hawthorne Welcher Jr. says.

The entrepreneurship training program is tailored to making sure small local businesses are set up for success. 

“Running programs that are training, mentorship, bringing in subject matter experts, ensuring that the business owners get the support they need, and we know through COVID, it really did hurt our business owners. So, we know it’s really important that we begin to advocate for funding in order to run programs that we know will be impactful to our community,” President and Co-founder of GABC Ronic West says.

The City of Augusta Business of Equity has partnered with the chamber to make sure funds, totaling $425,000, could be distributed between the businesses. 

“With this investment into the project, it just further impresses upon the community. How important that we know that local businesses and small businesses mean to our economic systems,” Interim Administrator City of Augusta Takiyah Dowse says.

The funding affords the GABC an opportunity to expand its offerings on multiple levels, which include an online training program for business owners on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We do a four-week program, and then, after that, we do six-month mentorship, so that way there’s one quick program that goes through, and you meet all the SME’s, CPA’s…,” West says. 

And as for the city itself, this means even more growth. 

“In the CSRA in general, mostly in Augusta, especially downtown in the outer corridors, the small businesses, the mom and pop operations, are basically the driving economic force here in Augusta,” City of Augusta Chief of Staff Jasmine Sims said.

If you are a local business looking to learn more and take your business to that next level, visit the GABC website.