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Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs Awarded $100,000 Grant from Bank of America

The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) announced a $100,000 grant from Bank of America (BofA) that will support RICE programming designed to support Black entrepreneurs. This grant underscores BofA’s steadfast commitment to fostering entrepreneurial excellence and promoting economic equity. It represents BofA’s continuous support of RICE and its mission with a cumulative investment of $400,000 since 2020.  

Big IDEAS is RICE’s signature learning platform, serving entrepreneurs from start-up through scale. The learning platform guides each entrepreneur as they develop their action plan for creating a sustainable business. The program guides entrepreneurs step by step, from ideation, through execution, to scale. Entrepreneurs enter at the stage appropriate for them and progress at their own pace. Along the way, they are supported by a team of subject matter experts and a faculty focused on making mastery and excellence the default. In addition to group learning sessions, the learning platform features unique hands-on experiences and holistic, community-driven development.

“In a short window of time of being a Stakeholder at RICE, I have accomplished my 2–3-year goals in just a few months,” said Natasha Simmons, RICE Stakeholder and CEO of Yacht Club Access, LLC. “The Big IDEAS curriculum and coaching have drastically transformed my business.” 

RICE entrepreneurs emerge from the RICE experience with the knowledge, skills and acumen to successfully grow and scale their business.

Funding programs for Black entrepreneurs

The $100,000 commitment is a testament to Bank of America’s continual investment in nonprofit leadership and advancing economic mobility. RICE was also selected as a 2020 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder awardee. This award provided funding, along with skills development and topics to help RICE leaders address their community challenges.

“Since 2020, our partnership with RICE helps empower Atlanta’s dynamic business community,” said Alfred McRae, president, Bank of America Atlanta. “This grant represents our steadfast commitment to fostering inclusive economic growth and supporting the visionary entrepreneurs at RICE who are driving innovation and opportunity in our city.”

RICE stands as the largest business incubation hub dedicated to nurturing Black-owned businesses in the United States at 54,000 sq. ft. Over the past four years, RICE has expanded its reach, serving more than 350 full-time Stakeholder entrepreneurs and impacting over 10,000 individuals within its extended network.

“We are immensely grateful for Bank of America’s continuous support,” said Jay Bailey, CEO, RICE. “This grant will enable us to expand our impact. We will provide even more entrepreneurs with the resources and guidance they need to turn their visions into reality.” 

RICE has been instrumental in transforming the entrepreneurial landscape in Atlanta and beyond. This investment from Bank of America only solidifies its mission to empower dreamers and visionaries. 

About Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE)

The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) is Atlanta’s home for Black entrepreneurs. Positioned as a business generator, RICE serves as an economic mobility engine for the community: driving entrepreneurs and small business owners to innovate, grow, create jobs and build wealth. Inspired by the legacy of Herman J. Russell, one of the most successful Black entrepreneurs and civic leaders in Atlanta, RICE remains dedicated to its mission to Build. Black. Business. and stands as the only initiative of its kind in the nation. For more information visit www.RussellCenter.orgdownload the RICE Report and follow @RICEAtlanta on Instagram and Twitter and @RussellCenterAtlanta on Facebook. To find out how to get involved and support Black entrepreneurs through contribution, visit or reach out to

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