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(CLEVELAND — Special Edition Newsletter by Candice Dyer) — At the end of every year, Georgia Trend magazine recognizes the top “100 Most Influential Georgians,” a list of visionaries and power-brokers that has included Jimmy Carter, John Lewis, and Ted Turner, along with other game-changing politicos, university presidents, philanthropists, and the occasional rock star (Chuck Leavell, Zac Brown). This year, Grace Fricks, founder and CEO of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) joins those ranks and will be honored today in a ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta.

“It’s a way to recognize people who are considered ‘movers and shakers’ making a measurable impact and providing forward momentum for the state and even the region,” said Jerry Grillo, senior editor at the magazine, “and no one on the 100 list, in my opinion, exemplifies the idea of ‘positive influence’ like Grace Fricks. She has grown and guided an organization that supports small businesses at a time when larger, deeper-pocketed institutions have scurried for cover. She’s one of those rays of sunshine – a true force of nature — in a murky, downcast economy.”

ACE marked several milestones in 2013, including $20 million in loans issued, and, since 2011, ACE’s portfolio has grown by a whopping 266 percent, with 97 percent of ACE’s clients repaying their loans as they grow their businesses in ways that foster sustainability and job creation. In fact, ACE has saved or generated almost 3,400 jobs.

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