Mayor Andre Dickens addresses the audience at the opening the Invest Atlanta small business center at Pittsburgh Yards. (Courtesy Invest Atlanta)

Atlanta is opening five resource centers to support small businesses in the community.

Mayor Andre Dickens and Invest Atlanta CEO Eloisa Klementich made the announcement Monday in southwest Atlanta at Pittsburgh Yards, a shared workspace for the community off University Avenue. Dickens said that building is hosting one of the new centers.

The mayor said the other centers are located at the Mary Parker Foundation on Campbellton Road; the Herman J. Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE) near the Atlanta University Center; the Goodwill of North Georgia on Metropolitan Parkway; and the iVIllage center on the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive corridor near the Hamilton E. Holmes MARTA station.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs can visit www.ATLinBusiness.com to schedule in-person or virtual meetings for free consulting and coaching at the centers. Dickens said the city is partnering with 13 local business experts specialized in finance, planning, marketing, human resources, legal matters, and web development.

“I owned a small business, a retail furniture business for nearly a decade,” Dickens said. “I understand the challenges that many of you have.”

Klementich urged residents to take advantage of the program. She said entrepreneurs from disinvested neighborhoods often have limited access to the resources needed to start and sustain a small business.

“This is the first time the city of Atlanta has offered this level of direct professional assistance to help small businesses overcome these challenges,” she said.

To be eligible for services, businesses need a 2022 City of Atlanta business license; nonprofits could also provide a Letter of Good Standing. All organizations must have fewer than 250 employees as of December 31, 2021, and be able to attest via affidavit to having a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wilborn P. Nobles III | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Wilborn P. Nobles III covers Atlanta City Hall for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.