Media Contact: Andrea Cervone

Three Atlanta Social Entrepreneurs Awarded Civic Impact Loans

ATLANTA, GA (September 8, 2017) –– Today, Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. (AEMI) officially announced the selection of honorCode, Marddy's and Gilliam’s Community Garden as the first recipients of Civic Impact Loans, a flexible, zero-percent interest loan program aimed at helping social entrepreneurs expand their business and impact in the local communities they serve. 

The Center for Civic Innovation (CCI), in partnership with AEMI and Invest Atlanta, helped establish the Civic Impact Loan fund.

"This is a really significant moment for us as an organization," said Rohit Malhotra, Executive Director of CCI. "For the past two years, we've been building this behind the scenes. We designed these flexible, zero-percent interest loans to empower these businesses to grow their reach and have a greater impact on the communities they serve. This is a pilot test for much more to come around access to capital for social entrepreneurs."

“We established the Civic Impact Loan fund to support local businesses in Atlanta,” said Michael Syphoe, Board Chair of Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. “From enhancing K-12 STEAM education to cultivating urban agriculture to supporting our city’s unique culinary culture, these three companies demonstrate how small social enterprises can have a big impact within our communities.”

The three Civic Impact Loan recipients are:

  • honorCode: A nonprofit social enterprise in Atlanta that provides curriculum and training to schools to bring more web-development into the general K-12 classroom. They offer training and professional development for teachers to learn how to better integrate coding into their classrooms, and provide a K-12 project-based coding curriculum to their teacher and school partners. honorCode plans to use the loan funding to hire another trainer to participate in their ongoing Drew Charter School pilot program. Last year, honorCode won the “Change the World Competition” at the Forbes Under 30 Summit.
  • Gilliam’s Community Garden: An outdoor kitchen to teach residents how to prepare healthy food for their families. Their goal is to improve community health in the area around Oakland City neighborhood through urban agriculture. Gilliam’s provides residents with access to fresh fruits, vegetables and poultry products.
  • Marddy’s: A shared kitchen space and marketplace for food-based entrepreneurs on the Westside. The owner, Keitra Bates, was recently featured on the NPR series, “Kitchen Table Conversations.”  Her mission is to preserve culinary culture of the Westside by supporting home chefs within the community. Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), has already provided support to the business with a loan to purchase the building where the business is located. Funding obtained through the Civic Impact Loan will be used for staffing and marketing purposes.

About Center For Civic Innovation

The Center for Civic Innovation is a community-driven research and development lab for local governments, nonprofits, and social entrepreneurs. Our mission is to push Atlanta to be a smart, equitable, and engaged city by investing in community-driven ideas, supporting social enterprises, and engaging people in dialogue and action. For more information, please visit

About Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. (AEMI)

Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. is a certified Community Development Entity that seeks to foster economic development, job creation, and neighborhood revitalization in Atlanta’s distressed neighborhoods by providing flexible financing products to high-impact businesses and real estate development projects. AEMI specializes in gap financing for businesses or developers with large-scale projects ($5MM-$20MM) in Census designated distressed neighborhoods. They also offer financing for small businesses, medium sized companies, and startups seeking low cost financing or venture capital. AEMI’s funding comes from private investors who provide them with low-cost funds for gap financing in exchange for tax breaks facilitated through the Federal New Markets Tax Credits program. For more information, visit

About Invest Atlanta

Invest Atlanta is the official economic development authority for the City of Atlanta. Its purpose is to strengthen Atlanta’s economy and global competitiveness to create increased opportunity and prosperity for the people of Atlanta. Chaired by the Mayor of Atlanta, and governed by a nine- member board of directors, Invest Atlanta’s programs and initiatives focus on developing and fostering public/private partnerships to create jobs, grow the economy, revitalize neighborhoods, attract investment, spur innovation and encourage entrepreneurship. To achieve these goals, Invest Atlanta leverages the benefits of bond financing, revolving loan funds, housing financing, tax increment financing and tax credits. For more information, visit