Kevin Wilson, Rotary of Atlanta West End program leader for August, presented Mr. Lonnie Saboor, Director of Small Business Development for Invest Atlanta. Invest Atlanta is the official economic development authority for the City of Atlanta. Its Mission: To advance Atlanta's global competitiveness by growing a strong economy, building vibrant communities, and increasing economic prosperity for all Atlantans. Its Purpose is to strengthen Atlanta’s economy and global competitiveness to create increased opportunity and prosperity for the people of Atlanta. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms serves a board chair for Invest Atlanta. Mr. Saboor presented numerous ways Atlanta businesses can obtain cash through loans to create a wide range of opportunities for financial support. Though the loans Mr. Saboor described are relatively small in dollar amounts offered, they enable borrowers to gain access to capital that many would not be able to get through private banks’ loan approval processes. Most of the loans enabled working capital, construction and facility improvement, assisting in maintaining inventory, expanding businesses, start-up funding, street vendors’ assistance, revolving loan funds, funds for acquiring a business(es), funds for women-owned businesses, small and minority-owned businesses, funds to pay off high interest borrowing. Also, because of a close relationship with the federal government, Invest Atlanta enables significant loan opportunities through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Small Business Administration – the SBA. In order to be customer friendly Invest Atlanta has created the capacity to service borrowers without charging closing costs, creative financing outside the capacity of private banks, and providing technical assistance at no costs or building this cost into the loans for the creation of business plans, assistance in creation of articles of incorporation, and other fundamentals necessary for sound businesses. Mr. Saboor said Invest Atlanta operates through two basic goals: (1) helping businesses to stay in business, and (2) insisting borrowers pay back their loans. Despite waiving many requirements private bankers require, Invest Atlanta, by adhering to these fundamentals throughout its loan programs, enjoys a preferred status with the federal government. This enables Invest Atlanta to attract capital and the plethora of loan programs for the benefit of Atlanta citizens.