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NEWARK ONE OF FIVE CITIES TO SHARE IN $500,000 CITY ACCELERATOR GRANT TO SUPPORT MINORITY-OWNED BUSINESSES

Newark, NJ – July 31, 2018 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today that the City of Newark is one of five cities nationwide that will share in a $500,000 City Accelerator grant to support minority-owned businesses and the jobs they create. The five cities involved – Atlanta, El Paso, Long Beach, Newark, and Rochester, will work together over the next year to pursue a range of projects to support the growth of local minority-owned businesses and the creation of additional jobs in their communities. Local initiatives range from ensuring minority-owned businesses are integrated into the commercial development of the 31-acre Pittsburgh Yards site in Atlanta to expanding small business services through the network of local libraries in El Paso.

“Taking part in the City Accelerator initiative will help us get two of my administration’s most important initiatives off the ground—Buy Newark and the Contractor Development Initiative,” said Mayor Baraka. “Whether ensuring that anchor institutions commit to increasing purchasing from Newark businesses or large developers partner with smaller minority and women-owned contractors, we are implementing unique programs to drive local procurement. Newark is a city on the rise and we look forward to working with Citi Foundation and Living Cities as we use every tool in our toolkit to ensure that development is inclusive.”

The $100,000 will be used as follows, according to the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation: $75,000 will go to the Contractors Development Initiative (Newark CDI), and the remainder to the Newark Business Services Providers Network.

The Newark CDI will train 20 to 30 Newark-based minority- and female-owned contracting firms in the principles of small business management. The classes are 15 sessions, and include such topics as business credit, contract law, bonding, estimating financial statements, and how to write business plans, marketing material, and how to use project management tools.

The Business Services Providers Network is a referral network that coordinates resources for Newark-based businesses and entrepreneurs. This program provides quarterly meetings and creates shared databases and resource guides, so that contractors can connect with potential clients, and vital resources to expand their businesses and achieve their goals.

“While the impact of small business growth on the U.S. economy is widely appreciated, the potential of minority-owned small businesses is often overlooked,” said Ed Skyler, Citi’s Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs and Chair of the Citi Foundation. “These cities recognize this untapped potential and are coming together to rethink how they work with minority-owned small businesses to help them grow and create high-quality jobs.”

All five cities selected for this Accelerator are majority-minority, meaning that relative to the overall U.S. population, racial minorities comprise a majority of the local population, making them prime urban centers to address the barriers people of minority-owned businesses face, including access to capital, connections to industries, and navigating regulations.

Now in its fifth year, the City Accelerator has brought together 17 municipalities to test new approaches that improve the lives of residents, especially those with low incomes. For example, Baltimore created an online portal for residents returning from the criminal justice system to access services and job opportunities, which is now part of the Baltimore City Health Department’s TECHealth initiative. Seattle created a system managed by the Department of Neighborhoods to integrate the perspectives of racially diverse communities into the planning of key projects and policies and track the results. The City of Los Angeles used its position as the host of the 2028 Olympics to test out policies and programs that will ensure small businesses, including minority-owned businesses, have access to the economic opportunities that come with hosting a large event.

“Cities can have a disproportionately positive impact on local entrepreneurial ecosystems and the creation of good jobs”, said Living Cities President and CEO Ben Hecht. “The cities in this latest initiative will be showing how they can harness all of their assets to support and grow businesses owned by the nation’s fastest growing populations—people of color—and help to close racial gaps in wealth and income in their own backyards.”

In addition to a $100,000 grant, each city will receive a combination of coaching, technical assistance and implementation resources in the coming year. Cities may consider local policy reform, changes in standard small business support practices, staff training, leadership and accountability structures, communications, outreach and relationship building, and capacity-building.

Technical assistance for the effort will be provided by Rodrick Miller, President and CEO of Ascendant Global, an economic development consulting firm. Miller has previously served as the President and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the New Orleans Business Alliance.

To track the progress and work of these City Accelerator cities in the coming year, visit Governing MagazineCiti’s blog and follow #CityAccelerator on Twitter.

About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com| Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi

About the Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.


About Living Cities

Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 18 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places. Additional information can be found at www.livingcities.org.

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meet the mayor

The Honorable Mayor Ras J. Baraka

Ras J. Baraka is the 40th Mayor of the City of Newark.

A native of Newark, whose family has lived in the City for more than 70 years, Mayor Baraka’s progressive approach to governing has won him accolades from grassroots organizations to the White House. With a forward-thinking agenda that reduced crime to its lowest levels in five decades, addressed affordability while maintaining steady growth, lowered unemployment, and returned local control of schools after more than two decades, Baraka defied expectations during his first term in office. 

As a part of his commitment to strengthen Newark’s position in the expanding technology space, Mayor Baraka has partnered with corporate stakeholders and institutions, such as NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology) on efforts that will capitalize on the 26 miles of dark fiber which lie beneath the City’s main corridors. Consequently, Newark is the host city for VOICE, a three-day summit hosted by Amazon Alexa, which is at the forefront of natural language processing. Additionally, in 4Q of 2018, the City will also launch LinkNWK (pronounced Link Newark), a new communications network of sidewalk kiosks that will provide residents of and visitors to Newark with free, gigabit Wi-Fi, mobile device charging, phone calls to anywhere in the U.S., access to municipal services, maps and directions, and real-time local information on city streets at no cost to taxpayers or users.

Mayor Baraka’s futurist agenda includes the implementation of a groundbreaking partnership called Hire. Buy. Live. Newark, a program that marks the first time that any US city has sought to transform its economy by combining employment, procurement, and residential strategies. These types of initiatives caught the attention of Amazon, which named Newark as a finalist city in its search to establish its second global headquarters.

He is considered nationally as a thought leader in the space of urban revitalization and his defiance of a hostile Presidential directive targeting the immigrant community with an executive order designating Newark as a sanctuary city solidified his status as one of the country’s most progressive elected officials.

Mayor Baraka was educated in the Newark Public Schools. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a Master’s Degree in Education Supervision from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City. His father, the late Amiri Baraka, was a legendary poet and playwright. His mother, Amina Baraka, is herself a renowned poet. The father of three daughters, Mayor Baraka is a published author and well-regarded in the entertainment industry for his appearance on the Grammy-award winning album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in his authentic role as an educator.

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