In the city of Atlanta, a child born into poverty has almost no chance of reaching the upper middle class – less than four percent. And more than half of those born into poverty will remain in poverty their entire lives.

THIRTY-SEVEN percent of African American households have a net worth of ZERO, and Atlanta leads the country in economic immobility and income inequality.

But the data is clear: the greatest equalizer of wealth disparity is business ownership. On average, minority business owners have a median net worth TWELVE times higher than those who do not own businesses. To break these dismal cycles, we must create new economic operations.


Launching in 2019, honoring the great legacy and visionary business leadership of Herman J. Russell, The Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE), will be the largest center in the country, driven by community impact, devoted to empowering African American entrepreneurs and small business owners.

The only initiative of its kind in the region, RCIE will be part incubator, part accelerator, part innovation lab and even part museum; changing the narrative by telling the untold and under-told stories of African American entrepreneurs and business leaders of past and present, while offering access to place and space, resources, networks, mentorship, technical assistance and education. Atlanta’s nexus between community, exposure, access and opportunity. Ultimately building a prepared and capable pipeline of entrepreneurial leaders and sustainable businesses that will raise the collective prosperity of Atlanta—just as Mr. Russell did in so many ways.

In the heart of one of Atlanta’s Opportunity Zones, RCIE will house over 50,000 SF of affordable coworking, convening, meeting and makerspace; along with a robust offering of educational, mentoring, networking, and capital resources; dedicated to inspiring ideas, creating jobs, scaling companies, and increasing wealth in the community.

  • I


    From Curiosity to Concept

  • D


    From Concept to Company

  • E


    From Company to Customers

  • A


    Buy, Sell, Merge, Acquire

  • S


    Build the Biz - Stay in Business

The Russell Family legacy.

The Russell family, led by H.J. Russell and Russell Construction, quite literally built Atlanta, as we know it today. H.J. Russell & Co., founded in 1953 and headquartered in Atlanta, is the largest minority-owned real estate and construction company in the U.S. Over the past six decades, the company has demonstrated its commitment to urban renewal and community building via thoughtful real estate development. In addition to H.J. Russell & Co., the Russell family also owns Concessions International, the largest African American-owned airport concessions company in the country. The Russell family is composed of highly respected entrepreneurs with deep roots in the City of Atlanta and across the nation.

The Russells are also historically and politically influential African-Americans, who have provided decades of significant support for the civil rights movement, the advancement of students and entrepreneurs, and the development of the city of Atlanta.

The second and third generations of Russells are committed to honoring H.J.’s legacy by revitalizing the area and creating a 50,000-square foot location of innovation, imagination and opportunity for Atlanta’s entrepreneurs. The corporate relocation makes room for a truly catalytic venue in a way that deepens the family’s dedication to the neighborhood.

See what we’re building at RCIE.
Donors to the Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Beyond Innovation Campaign
Phase I & II
Ameris Bank
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Arthur Clement
Artis  Johnson
AT&T Foundation
Bank of America
Bank OZK
Blank Foundation
Chick-fil-A Foundation
The Clorox Company Foundation
Dallas Community Works
Dan Amos Foundation
Delta Community Credit Union
Douglas County Chamber
Dr. William F. Pickard
Fulton County
Iris & Bruce Feinberg
Jabian Consulting
Jackson Spalding
JP Morgan Chase
Kendeda Fund
Mr. & Mrs. Pete Correll
Noel Kahlil
Regions Bank
Ressler Foundation
Russell Family Foundation
State Farm
Sylvia Russell
T Dallas Smith & Company
Taylor English
The Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship’s Board of Directors
Tony Ressler Foundation
Truist Foundation
U.S. Bank/Evalon
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Department of Energy
United Way/Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta COVID-19
Community Response and Recovery Fund
Wells Fargo Foundation
We want to hear from you.
Join us on this journey.

504 Fair St SW
Atlanta, GA 30313

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