ATLANTA, 3 MAY 2021 — The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), an Atlanta-based organization committed to inspiring Black entrepreneurs and small business owners, will receive a three-year, $450,000 investment from US Bank.
RICE is the United States’ largest business incubation center devoted solely to the development of Black entrepreneurs. Employees of US Bank will provide education and inspiration to emerging entrepreneurs seeking advice in the areas of banking, technology, payments, and creativity, in addition to the grant.
“Our support of the Russell Center is consistent with the U.S. Bank Access Commitment, a long-term approach to building wealth and providing access in diverse communities,” said Jamie Walker, CEO of Elavon, and head of merchant payments at U.S. Bank. “U.S. Bank is committed to empowering business owners and investing in opportunities that help create systemic change.”
Access is a set of campaigns from around our company aimed at closing the 10:1 income disparity in the United States. All of the programs have the same goal in mind: to provide creative goods, services, and transformative consumer and employee interactions that will maximize prosperity for diverse populations, beginning with the Black community.
“We are honored to partner with U.S. Bank and Elavon to bring fundamental changes to the Atlanta Black Business community,” said RICE CEO Jay Bailey. “We are grateful to the executive sponsorship team, led by Terra Wallace, who understood our vision at the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship from day one. This partnership is more than a financial investment; it is about U.S. Bank’s long-term commitment to supporting our businesses in our community with the access, resources, and skilled counsel needed to win.”
U.S. Bank has a large presence in Atlanta, and its Elavon company has been supporting the city for more than 20 years. RICE’s investment in Black business owners is one of the largest the company has made in the greater Atlanta area.
“We believe investment is more than financial resources,” said Terra Wallace, who is one of the executive sponsors of the program for U.S. Bank. “Investing means sharing our knowledge in addition to our dollars. Leaders from across the company will provide insights, guidance and recommendations to businesses that are getting their start or growing through the Russell Center.”
The partnership’s executive backers are Wallace and Rabia Nelson. The partnership manager is Samuel Thurman. The Atlanta branch of the U.S. Bank Black Heritage Business Resource Group, the Atlanta Black Leadership Council, the Innovation committee (Doug Nielsen), and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion division are among the U.S. Bank’s supporting partners (Maxine Swayne).