Start:ME Participants from 2013

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) at Emory University is partnering with Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), CDF: A Collective Action Initiative and the East Lake Foundation to offer the Start:Micro-Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (Start:ME) to support the most promising micro-entrepreneurs in and around the Clarkston and East Lake communities.

These 14-week programs offer the business training, mentorship support and early-stage financing that promising entrepreneurs need to develop viable and sustainable microbusinesses. When successful, these microbusinesses (employing between one and four employees) not only generate income for entrepreneurs and their families, but also help build neighborhood vitality.

Start:ME (formerly VilCap:START) has been working in the Clarkston community since 2013, and will launch in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood in early 2015. The two programs will run in parallel during the January through April period.

Between 15-20 entrepreneurs in each community will be chosen to participate in an intensive skills-based program, meet and work with a panel of banking experts, and be mentored by a carefully selected group of business leaders and peers. The program features a pre-committed loan pool of $30,000 in each community that will be invested in top businesses, enabling the most promising entrepreneurs to receive low-interest working capital loans at the end of the program. The entrepreneurs themselves select who receives these loans.

The program is free to participants; however, promising entrepreneurs must meet strict attendance standards.

The program is now accepting applications from promising micro-entrepreneurs. Please learn more by attending an upcoming information session:

  • Clarkston Community Information Sessions: Nov. 8, 10 a.m.-noon at Clarkston First Baptist Church’s Family Life Center
  • East Lake Community Information Sessions: Nov. 3, 6-7 p.m. at The Villages of East Lake; Nov. 6, 6-8 p.m. at Toomer Elementary School; Nov. 15, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Zaban Recreation Center 

Entrepreneur applications, which can be completed online at, are due on Nov. 19 for Clarkston and Dec. 1 for East Lake.

In addition to CDF: A Collective Action Initiative and the East Lake Foundation, local partners including the Clarkston Community Center, East Lake Neighborhood Community Association (ELNCA), Georgia United Credit Union and Refugees Women’s Network play a critical role in supporting Start:ME entrepreneurs in Clarkston and East Lake.

For more information on Start:ME, please visit

About Social Enterprise @ Goizueta

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G), an Academic Center within Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, applies business acumen and market-based solutions to achieve meaningful and enduring societal impacts. Faculty, staff and students work with for-profit, non-profit and hybrid organizations to inject business thinking into communities that need it through research, fieldwork and teaching / student support.

About Start:ME Clarkston

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) has worked with CDF: A Collective Action Initiative, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) and local partners Clarkston Community Center, Georgia United Credit Union and Refugee Women’s Network to support micro-entrepreneurs in the community of Clarkston, Georgia, since 2013. The Clarkston program (formerly named VilCap:START) has graduated 24 ventures and runs annually from January through April. Applications are being accepted through November 19, 2014.

About Start:ME East Lake

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta works with the East Lake Foundation and local partner East Lake Neighborhood Community Association (ELNCA) to support micro-entrepreneurs in the East Lake and neighboring Kirkwood communities of Atlanta. The East Lake program, new this year, will run from January through April 2015. Applications are being accepted through Dec. 1, 2014.