Legacy Businesses in Atlanta, Worth $163 Billion in Revenue, at Stake as Baby Boomers Retire
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 Initiative and Morehouse College. With one-third of local businesses Black-owned, this initiative will turn employees into owners, strengthening the region’s resiliency.
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.” said Project Equity CEO Evan Edwards.
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 Initiative and 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.
“Gaps in access to professional services contribute to the racial wealth gap. Access to professional counsel on exit strategy, succession planning, and employee ownership is an on-ramp to wealth creation that helps close the racial wealth gap.” said Latresa McLawhorn Ryan, Executive Director, Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative.
“Employee ownership is critical to growing and perpetuating community wealth,” said Bonika Wilson, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, Invest Atlanta. “Atlanta is at risk of losing minority-owned businesses if we don’t find ways to support them during times of transition. Employee ownership initiatives like Project Equity enable small business owners to sell on their own timeline, preserve jobs, and keep the company rooted right here in Atlanta.”
Project Equity is a national leader in the movement to harness employee ownership to maintain thriving local business communities, honor selling owners’ legacies and address income and wealth inequality. Project Equity works with partners around the country to raise awareness about employee ownership as an exit strategy for business owners, and provides hands-on consulting, support and financing to companies that want to transition to employee ownership. For more information visit https://project-equity.org/.
Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative is an intermediary that seeks to achieve shared prosperity by closing the racial wealth gap through community wealth building strategies. We are a community of investors, advocates, and activists working to transform systems and structures of capital to create opportunities for African Americans and people of color in Atlanta and across the South. We promote understanding of community wealth-building strategies to cultivate the engagement, capacity, leadership necessary to shape a new economic narrative in Atlanta.
A Morehouse Man is an academic, intellectual, and professional success. Inspired by strong, intelligent, critical, and supportive brothers and teachers, a Morehouse Man endeavors to do the same. Morehouse brothers become and remain the Morehouse Man’s most influential guides and closest friends. From day one, their brothers inspire them, challenge them, hold them accountable, and stand by them. The Morehouse brotherhood extends across generations, throughout the nation, and into every industry and area of life.