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Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) Secures $2 Million Investment from Truist to Continue Accelerating Black Entrepreneurship in Atlanta

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ATLANTA, Feb. 29, 2024 ~ Atlanta, GA - The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) has received a major boost in its expansion efforts thanks to a $2 million grant from Truist Foundation and two Truist Trusteed Foundations. This generous support will not only help RICE grow, but also elevate Black entrepreneurs within the Atlanta community and beyond.

According to research conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, nearly 71% of Black entrepreneurs rely on personal and family savings for financing. This disparity in access to capital is further compounded by the lower levels of family wealth among Black families. However, RICE has already taken steps to bridge this gap through its focus on Black entrepreneurship. Its stakeholders have created hundreds of jobs, generated over $100 million in revenue, and contributed to a total economic activity of $450 million.

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"We are thrilled to receive this investment from Truist Foundation and the Truist Trusteed Foundations, which will greatly support our mission to empower Black entrepreneurs in unprecedented ways," said Jay Bailey, president and CEO of RICE. "Through this partnership, we are poised to drive economic impact and growth."

The collaboration between RICE and Truist is reshaping the landscape of entrepreneurship by promoting collaboration and empowerment. This joint effort highlights the importance of initiatives that go beyond traditional boundaries to create a more inclusive and dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem.

"As we near the end of Black History Month, we are proud to celebrate the success of RICE and invest in a more inclusive business ecosystem in Atlanta," said Lynette Bell, president of Truist Foundation. "RICE is known for driving innovation, growth, job creation, and wealth building among entrepreneurs and small business owners. They are an integral partner in our goal to increase economic mobility for all."

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The partnership was officially launched at RICE today with an announcement from Katie Saez, Georgia regional president at Truist. This was followed by a panel discussion titled "Demystifying Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs: Strategies for Success." The panel, moderated by Bell, featured RICE stakeholder and founder and CEO of Brown Toy Box, Terri Bradley; financial and business advisor at Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), Alphonza Gibbs; and Truist's director of small business, Gayle Cabrera.

After the panel, entrepreneurs had the opportunity to network with leaders in attendance and gain expert advice on funding opportunities and avenues for growth and investment. This will empower small businesses to reach their full potential.

The $2 million grant from Truist Foundation and the Truist Trusteed Foundations is a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for Black entrepreneurs in Atlanta. With RICE's continued efforts and support from partners like Truist, the future looks bright for Black entrepreneurship in Atlanta.
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