Cities look to Atlanta as example for female entrepreneurs

Atlanta has become a model for U.S. cities hoping to highlight female leaders and entrepreneurs.
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 11:32 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Atlanta has become a model for U.S. cities hoping to highlight female leaders and entrepreneurs.

Atlanta city council member Marci Collier Overstreet said she has shared resources and strategies with smaller cities like Savannah, Georgia, and larger metro areas like Chicago.

“They are calling asking how do we get women at the table in other cities,” said Overstreet. “Women have been underrepresented for so long, and this is the time to start amplifying our voices.”

For Women’s History Month in March, Overstreet said the city is shining a light on diverse female business owners in Atlanta. The city is also partnering with organizations like the Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Project and Women’s Entrepreneurial Initiative.

Overstreet believes the efforts will inspire current and future generations of female leaders.

“Atlanta has been extremely diverse and we need to make sure we are mentoring our little girls to make sure they know it’s possible,” she explained.

Black women make up the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs according to data from 2014-2019. However, minority women often face the biggest obstacles when starting their own businesses, including funding, creating connections, and overcoming societal stereotypes in the workplace.

At 44th and 3rd Bookseller in Atlanta, owner Cheryl Lee is part of the record-setting wave of minority female entrepreneurs. When Lee opened her shop five years ago, she filled a void in Atlanta by filling her store’s shelves.

“I wanted to do something I could call my own,” said Lee. “You had to search for books by and about African Americans or people from the African diaspora. We wanted to create a space where people could see it for themselves.”

Lee said her shop was inspired by another similar bookshop in Colorado. Her inventory of books highlighting Black authors mirrors efforts by Atlanta leaders efforts to encourage diversity in the city’s entrepreneurs.