Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) rolled out the red carpet last week as it hosted the premiere screening for “The New Entrepreneur: Odyssey for a Dream,” a documentary following the journey of 15 local entrepreneurs through VilCap:Start, a new program piloted in Clarkston, GA by Emory University’s Goizueta Business School’s SE@G and CDF: A Collective Action Initiative.
As captured in the film, over 65 local Clarkston entrepreneurs applied for the opportunity to attend 14 weeks of business training, gain access to mentors and finance and legal experts, and the chance to win one of three $10,000 low-cost loans. The accelerated business program follows the Village Capital model, awarding the most promising entrepreneurs the business tools, network access and early-stage financing needed to develop new, sustainable micro-businesses in the Clarkston community. The cohort of entrepreneurs vote and decide the three winners.
“The VilCap:Start program is about being the owner of your future,” Chris Thompson of CDF: A Collective Action Initiative told an attentive audience that filled the room. “This program rejects the extraction mentality that we see so often in communities like Clarkston and instead of taking away, seeks to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs and in the community as a whole.”
The screening was followed by a Q&A with EventStreams filmmakers Nate Haskell and Julie Grimm and an opportunity for attendees to meet some of the entrepreneurs featured in the documentary. Representatives from CDF: A Collective Action Initiative, Refugee Women’s Network, and other VilCap:Start – Clarkston Clarkston partners were also on hand with information about how to get involved in the Clarkston community.
Tune in to watch Public Broadcasting Atlanta (PBA30),on Christmas Day, December 25, at 7pm, for the television premiere of “The New Entrepreneur: Odyssey for a Dream.”
An encore airing has been schedule for January 2, at 8pm.
Applications for the 2014 VilCap:Start – Clarkston program are currently being accepted. Click here, to learn more and access the application.
Peter Roberts, professor of organization and management and academic director of SE@G, stressed the importance and impact of the VilCap:Start project. HE expressed plans to expand to other Metro Atlanta communities. “Our goal is to improve the program with each iteration and use what we learn to help develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Clarkston over time,” says Roberts. “As we do so, we would also like to deploy the VilCap:Start platform and the network of mentors and content providers to work ‘year-round’ in various Metro Atlanta communities, with a visible, ‘always on’ program. By doing so, we feel that we can help accelerate the latent potential of Atlanta’s micro-entrepreneurs.”
VilCap:Start – Clarkston partners include: Social Enterprise @ Goizueta, CDF: A Collective Action Initiative, Village Capital, Refugee Women’s Network, Clarkston Community Center, and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs.