SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A new project that will drastically change economic inclusivity in the City of Savannah.  

The project called Ignite Advantage was announced today in partnership with the city as well as Step Up Savannah.

City leaders call it an economic engine addressing issues for minorities trying to escape poverty by starting a business as well as benefiting minority-owned businesses and the everyday problems they may face.

This is a big day with the announcement of Ignite Advantage. Now, this project is the first of its kind. It’s designed to give minorities a seat at the table striving to escape poverty and thrive in the world of entrepreneurship in the City of Savannah. 

Executive Director of Step Up Savannah Alicia Johnson said, “Specifically, economic inclusive strategies. Take a look at how can we leverage what’s already available in our community to drive asset building and wealth building for those people who are living in desperate situations in our community.” 

On Tuesday, during the mayor’s small business conference, the city along with step it up savannah released information on a study that shows an asset poverty rate of 35% in Savannah.

And for households of color, it’s even higher sitting at 44%. 

Ignite Advantage was built to break that constant cycle of poverty in our city by making entrepreneurship aspirations more attainable for minorities. 

“This particular co-op model will help drive wealth building for minority-owned businesses by one becoming its own corporate entity. It will make money. There’s no loss for them it’s all gain,” said Johnson.  

Getting better access in terms of things like capital loans, major contracts around the city, and even health insurance.

When talking with an accountant at the conference, we learned that this program aims to help take care of the back office tasks – that generally is the biggest hurdle for minority-owned businesses 

Local CPA, Monisha Johnson said, “The biggest obstacle is their paperwork honestly. It’s all of the administrative back office tasks. When it comes time to communicate that on paper…it is very difficult for a lot of business owners.”