Forty-Eight Atlanta Area Entrepreneurs Complete Goizueta Business School Start:ME Community-Based Accelerator Program, Receiving Mentoring and Business Training

April 10: $30K in Peer Selected Investment Grants to be Announced

ATLANTA, April 5, 2018 – Forty-eight promising micro-entrepreneurs in the Clarkston, East Lake and Southside Atlanta communities have completed an extensive mentoring and business training program offered through the Goizueta Business School’s Start:Micro-Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (Start:ME).


Start:ME will celebrate the 48 ventures completing this year’s program with its Entrepreneur Showcase presented by Comcast Business on Tuesday, April 10th from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Goizueta Business School in Atlanta.  The event will feature display areas for entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services, unique foods sourced from local chefs and bakers, pitch presentations from top ventures, and grant investment announcements.

The program is offered annually by Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in partnership with Friends of Refugees, East Lake Foundation, Focused Community Strategies (FCS) and Purpose Built Schools of Atlanta.

Micro-businesses represented in the 2018 Cohorts include traditional foods from Syria; website and digital media service providers, artisan clothing and apparel makers, natural health and beauty producers, pet services providers, local boutique concepts; and more.

The 14-session accelerator program provides business training, mentorship support, and early-stage financing to promising micro-entrepreneurs (those with 1-4 employees) to develop viable and sustainable businesses. Entrepreneurs supported one another while competing for peer-selected seed investment grants from a $30,000 pool ($10,000 in each community).

Since its inception in 2013, Start:ME has supported more than 150 local businesses and awarded more than 20 working capital investments in the form of loans and grants. Start:ME also engages more than 75 volunteer mentors with significant professional business and/or entrepreneurial experience to provide critical support for entrepreneurs participating in the program.

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Additional Details on this year’s Start:ME entrepreneurs:

The 48 ventures in the 2018 cohorts:

  • Generated over $850,000 in annual revenues
  • Accounted for 49 jobs
  • Occupied seven brick and mortar locations.

About this year’s Start:ME entrepreneurs:

Of the 48 businesses:

  • 83% of the ventures are minority-owned,
  • 71% are female-run
  • 45% of entrepreneurs have started a previous venture
  • 20% are foreign-born

About Social Enterprise @ Goizueta

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G), a research center within Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, works to make markets work for more people, in more places, in more ways. Faculty, staff and students work with for-profit, non-profit, and hybrid organizations to inject business thinking into communities through research, fieldwork, and teaching/student activities.

About Start:ME Clarkston

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) works with Friends of Refugees, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) and local partners Clarkston Community Center, Global Growers, Refugee Women’s Network, Refuge Coffee Co., New American Pathways, Georgia State University Clarkston Campus, and Partnership for Community Action to support entrepreneurs in Clarkston, GA since 2013. The Clarkston program has graduated 81 ventures since 2013.

About Start:ME East Lake

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) works with the East Lake Foundation, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), and local partners Drew Charter School, Villages of East Lake, East Lake Neighborhood Community Association (ELNCA), Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization (KNO) to support entrepreneurs in the East Lake and neighboring Kirkwood communities of Atlanta. The East Lake program has graduated 61 ventures since 2015.

About Start:ME Southside

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) works with Focused Community Strategies, Purpose Built Schools Atlanta, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, along with local partners The Villages at Carver YMCA, The Villages at Carver, Carver High School, the Capitol View neighborhood, and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation to support entrepreneurs in the Southside of Atlanta. This is the inaugural cohort of 17 ventures for the Southside program, serving entrepreneurs from the neighborhoods of Historic South Atlanta, Thomasville Heights, Lakewood Heights, Chosewood Park, Browns Mill Park, Capitol View, and Capitol View Manor.