Downtown Diveristy Initiative

The Downtown Diversity Initiative (DDI) is an entrepreneurship program that provides resources, training, and support to African American entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses in Downtown Macon. Through the program, participants gain access to industry experts, mentorship, and funding opportunities, all with the goal of helping them achieve long-term success and contribute to a more diverse and thriving downtown community.


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, with the goal of attracting more African American business owners and customers to downtown Macon. Currently, only 27% of downtown businesses are owned by African Americans, despite the fact that half of Macon's population is African American.

About the Downtown Diversity Initiative

The Downtown Diversity Initiative (DDI) is a business development program designed to support the growth of Black-owned businesses in downtown Macon. DDI is a six-week program that covers a wide range of topics, including business planning, marketing, financial management, and customer service. Participants also receive one-on-one coaching and mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Sessions of the Downtown Diversity Initiative are designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective business plans and marketing strategies, and connect with mentors. Participants learn how to effectively pitch their concepts to a panel of local judges and are eligible to compete for a prize package at the end of the program. By supporting Black-owned businesses and fostering a more inclusive downtown, NewTown Macon is working to create a stronger, more vibrant community for everyone.

Who Should Apply

The Downtown Diversity Initiative is open to Black entrepreneurs and business owners who are interested in starting or growing a business in downtown Macon. Applicants should have a strong business concept or existing business, and be committed to building a successful and sustainable enterprise.


By participating in the Downtown Diversity Initiative, entrepreneurs gain valuable skills and knowledge that can help them succeed in the competitive downtown environment. In addition, participants have the opportunity to network with other business owners and community leaders, and receive ongoing support and resources from NewTown Macon.

2022 Winners

Troy Cunningham, Sr., Smoked Eatz Mobile Kitchen: a mobile kitchen satisfying taste buds with all smoked food, including pork, chicken, salmon, and classic homemade sides. Smoked Eatz Mobile Kitchen participated in DDI to help their business expand operations to open a storefront downtown.

Terri Marion, Wagsworth Hotel: a luxury resort for dogs featuring a hotel, daycare, spa, walking service, and more that has been in operation since June 2021. The business wants to relocate and expand services as the premiere dog service business in the downtown canine community.

Andrea Cooke, RESCue: a new startup company focused on social impact, masquerading as a water company that is celebrating our hometown’s award-winning water.

Kristie Gordon, Gordon’s Vineyard: a start-up business with a mission to offer a quality preschool for students in low-income areas. Kristie Gordon is a former high school science teacher who desires to integrate her science and mental health background into a learning center.

Jermain Scott, Undisease: a mobile app that helps people suffering from chronic diseases. Whether teaching about nutrition, tracking symptoms, encouraging healthy habits, or providing discussion groups, this mobile app will support health and build community for those with chronic disease.

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