We Accelerate Business
Central Alabama Redevelopment Alliance’s (CARA) mission is to increase economic development capacity for urban and rural communities, existing micro and small businesses, and community stakeholders by providing professional educational programs that create sustainability. In 2015, CARA began as a volunteer effort with the help of small business owners and community stakeholders. In Phase One, CARA focused on minority and women owned businesses in low to moderate income areas across the western region of Jefferson County.
In the fall of 2016, CARA identified and partnered with existing economic development organizations and created business alliances. Next, CARA performed a ready-for-business analysis that enabled us to determine the response to address existing and future businesses’ needs. Also, the capacity building required data and assessments, which we gained from the working relationships formed with utility companies and other economic development organizations. We developed relationships in small municipalities with key contacts for each facet of economic development. In addition, CARA has provided coaching and technical assistance for small municipalities with limited economic development programs.
In the Spring and Summer of 2020, the CARA facilitated 28 workshops for micro and small businesses in direct response to COVID-19’s negative effect on the economy. Over 150 businesses joined the workshops, enabling over 90% to stay in business during the heavy restrictions on small businesses.
Late 2020 to Present Day
Later that year we launched the Western Micro Business Accelerator. The accelerator provides mature, existing companies access to instructional workshops, key resource providers, and other support to help them expand and create jobs for the local community. The Western Micro Business Accelerator has been divided into four phases:
Each phase included a six-week instructional workshop lasting one hour. Micro-business owners have access to key resource providers for nine months, as they go through each accelerator phase. The Western Micro Business Accelerator strategic partners include local universities, established business professionals, local EDOs, and financial institutions.
Accelerating to the Future
The Central Alabama Redevelopment Alliance will have a profound impact on micro-businesses and municipalities with populations that are 25,000 or less by accomplishing the following by 2032: