In 2018, NewTown Macon and the Macon-Middle Georgia Black Pages won a grant from the Downtown Challenge Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia to launch the Downtown Diversity Initiative to attract more African American business owners and customers to the urban core.
Currently, 18% of downtown businesses are owned by African Americans. This number does not reflect the diversity of Macon’s community, whose population is 54% African American. The Downtown Diversity Initiative is one of the ways NewTown Macon works to create a more equitable and inclusive downtown.
During the first round of the Downtown Diversity Initiative, 12 entrepreneurs attended a series of workshops led by experts from the local business community. Participants developed thoughtful business plans, learned effective marketing tools, and met with business mentors. Participants presented a pitch at the end of the series to be considered for a prize package worth $6,500 that included funds to subsidize rent and marketing efforts.