Over the last seven months, small businesses across the U.S. – particularly minority-owned businesses – have been facing the challenges of COVID-19 head on. On Thursday, September 24, the Fiserv Back2Business program cruised into Atlanta, Georgia to provide financial assistance, business consulting services, and leading technology solutions from Clover to RAGTRADE ATLANTA, an organization working to grow Atlanta’s fashion industry.
Fiserv President of Merchant Joint Ventures and Acquirer Processing, Kim Crawford Goodman presented the Back2Business grant to owner Angela Watts. Kim was joined by SVP of SMB Inside Sales Leslie Pearce, who served as Master of Ceremonies at the event, and Vivian Greentree, SVP of Global Corporate Citizenship, who shared more on how our Back2Business program creates opportunity for deeper Fiserv engagement in the Atlanta community.
Showing a true commitment to the development and success of Atlanta’s fashion industry, RAGTRADE ATLANTA has been a catalyst for growth since its inception, providing resources and programming for local and international designers who call Atlanta home. Angela and team have worked to create a hub that provides entrepreneurs with business development, scholarship awards and grants, reputation management, and access to innovation and tech such as ways to utilize eCommerce – all with the aim to re-position Atlanta as a key player in the global fashion space.
As Angela notes, RAGTRADE ATLANTA, “Aims to further the interest of independent designers who want to tap into their passion and make a business out of that passion.”
To feed that passion, Angela and the RAGTRADE Atlanta team curate a year-long calendar of events, the highlight of which is Atlanta Fashion Week where the city plays host to runway shows, panel discussions, networking sessions and more to showcase the city’s talent.
A true champion for the city, RAGTRADE Atlanta has created not just a business, but a movement that has galvanized support from the local community, business leaders, elected officials and supporters across the globe.
Maintaining a level of passion to elevate the Atlanta fashion industry during these difficult times has served as an example of the dedication that RAGTRADE Atlanta has for their mission. Although the pandemic saw the cancellation of events and a significant drop in membership sign-ups – both key drivers of revenue – Angela and her team have continued to provide resources and assistance to the community.
As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, RAGTRADE ATLANTA used social media, their blog, as well as weekly newsletters to stay in touch with their community of designers and creatives to hold true to their mission of shining a light on the Atlanta fashion industry.
In addition, the team has worked to spotlight up and coming designers in hopes of driving customers their way through the use of eCommerce.
The grant and resources that we provided RAGTRADE Atlanta will help them continue their mission to ensure that the Atlanta fashion industry remains a player on the local, regional, national, and international stage and to help the next class of independent designers as they embark on their dream.
“We will use the Back2Business resources towards our operating costs and to expand our service offerings to include more virtual events so we can continue to be that conduit between the designer and unlimited possibilities,” said Angela. “We will also ‘pay it forward’ by providing financial help to individuals who may need it at this time – whether it be for materials or equipment to keep their business going.”
We’re looking forward to watching RAGTRADE Atlanta play a key role in elevating the Atlanta fashion industry for years to come and continuing to grow Atlanta Fashion Week for the city.
Read our introductory post Getting Back2Business for a broader look at the initiative, why we’re doing it, and how to get involved.
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