Programmatic Initiative

Breaking Barriers to Business

As a part of Where It Starts, Truist Foundation’s multi-year initiative to strengthen small businesses and open career pathways for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), Living Cities and Main Street America have launched Breaking Barriers to Business: an initiative to accelerate wealth-building pathways for business owners of color in Southeast U.S. cities and corridors.


How we Start, Grow, and Create Jobs

Breaking Barriers to Business, or B3, is a multi-year project seeking to transform systemic barriers found in the relationship between local government business-serving agencies (BSA) and community-based business-serving organizations (BSO) into systemic pathways that serve business owners of color with the knowledge and financial capital they need to start, grow, and create jobs in their commercial corridors.

Over the next few years, Living Cities will work with local government leaders to:

  • Shift more financial capital via BSOs to business owners in participating corridors.
  • Amplify narratives that redress harmful perceptions about the participating corridors.
  • Utilize anti-racist organizing alongside BSOs to balance power dynamics.
  • Influence local government policy to encourage inclusive participation in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Facilitate cross-BSA peer learning opportunities to share best practices.

Participating Cities

Transforming Systemic Barriers Into Pathways

As we learn what it takes to transform systemic barriers into pathways in our participating cities and corridors, we will uplift stories, lessons, and data.

Participating Cities

  • Atlanta, GA
    Dept. of Planning & Invest Atlanta
  • Charlotte, NC
    Dept. of Economic Development, Corridors of Opportunity
  • Memphis, TN
    Office of Business Diversity & Compliance; Memphis Public Libraries
  • Miami, FL
    Dept. of Human Services
  • Nashville, TN
    Dept. of Finance; Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Initiative Partners

Our supporting and
implementation partners

The Truist Foundation was established in 2020 with a mission to strategically invest in nonprofit organizations, ensuring that the communities it serves have increased opportunities for a better quality of life. The foundation’s grants and activities are centered around creating career pathways to economic mobility and bolstering small businesses. As an integral part of Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) mission to inspire and develop better lives and communities, the Truist Foundation is deeply committed to its purpose. Visit to learn more.

At the core of the Truist Foundation’s philosophy is the belief that everyone and every community should have equal opportunities to thrive. By partnering with Living Cities and focusing on the following critical areas, the Truist Foundation is confident that the communities it serves will have access to a better quality of life.

Main Street America envisions an inclusive and resilient Main Street accessible to all, a place that boasts a thriving local economy, is unique and full of character, and provides welcoming spaces and diverse businesses for both residents and visitors. To accomplish this objective, Main Street America employs the time-tested Main Street Approach framework, which enhances the capacity of local, place-based management organizations that assist new and established businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them. Recognizing a location’s physical environment as a key factor in small business success, particularly for entrepreneurs of color, a robust local entrepreneurial ecosystem is essential.

Main Street America has a specialized focus on supporting small businesses located in Main Streets across the country. They possess extensive expertise in entrepreneurship and are well-versed in the needs and strategies for small businesses in both urban and rural areas.

Their track record includes conducting research on entrepreneurial ecosystems and collaborating with institutions like the Brookings Institute to produce knowledge products such as the 2020 report on downtown commercial corridor revitalization.

This body of work is made possible by the Truist Foundation. To learn more about the Breaking Barriers to Business initiative and how you can be a resource partner to the participating cities in this initiative, please contact Norris Williams at

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