Empowering Entrepreneurs on the Westside: Transportation for a Connected Community

In 2020, Westside Future Fund launched its Program Related Investments (PRIs). PRIs are low-cost loans made with favorable terms to support the growth of minority enterprises. WFF provided these PRIs to small, minority-owned businesses that are based in or serve Atlanta’s historic Westside. Unlike traditional banking institutions, PRIs offer a viable solution to organizations that are gaining traction and doing important work within the community.

WFF has launched a new series, “Empowering Entrepreneurs on the Westside,” featuring PRI recipients and highlighting their contributions to the historic Westside. In this installment, founder of Strive Transit, Auna Tyson highlights the work she and her company are doing to provide Westside residents with access to transportation.

One of the biggest barriers to equity is access to transportation. For many legacy residents on the Westside, owning a vehicle isn’t an option, and frequent ridesharing can be too costly. That’s why Auna Tyson started Strive Transit, a hyper-local, micro-transit shuttle service company for eight Westside neighborhoods seven days a week.

“Our sole goal is to pick up and drop off residents and visitors and take them to businesses on the Westside, including Midtown and the Peachtree Corridor. Our eco-friendly vehicles promote environmental sustainability while offering an alternative to MARTA, Uber, and Lyft,” says Auna.

Strive Transit was also the official transportation partner for WFF’s inaugural Ride for the Westside. Hundreds of participants joined WFF’s effort to raise awareness and fundings to support the equitable revitalization of historic Atlanta neighborhoods.

Building Community

Tyson first moved to the Westside in 2010, leaving her home in St. Louis for the first time. While making the leap halfway across the country was daunting, she immediately found herself at home on the Westside. 

As Auna reflects on her time on the Westside, she is proud of the community’s progress and hopeful for the future.

“When I think about the Westside, I think about growth,” says Auna. “These neighborhoods are about  building community, maintaining sustainability, and connecting with people who share similar interests and a mindset to help each other grow.”

Auna hopes Strive Transit will continue to grow thanks to funding from the WFF Program Related Investment (PRI) program.

According to Auna, “The PRI funding has opened doors we had no idea would be possible. We’ve secured contracts and additional vehicles to expand our business. We’re now in the room with other Westside businesses who utilize our services for some of their events and other ventures.”

WFF’s mission is to advance a compassionate approach to neighborhood revitalization. This mission requires a holistic investment into the communities we serve, including supporting local business owners. Our philanthropic partners make initiatives like WFF’s PRI program possible. 

Join us in supporting our work as we continue Our Next Chapter.