Entreprenuers from the 2015 Start:Me program. The 2016 class will begin work in the spring; applications are currently being accepted.

Program Applications Accepted in Clarkston and East Lake through November 16, 2015

OCT. 1, 2015 – Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) at Emory University is partnering with Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), Friends of Refugees 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 1 and 4 employees) not only generate income for entrepreneurs and their families, but also help build neighborhood vitality.

Start:ME has helped 38 early stage microbusinesses in the Clarkston community since 2013 and 16 in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood since 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.

Start:ME is made possible through the generous support of presenting corporate and foundation sponsors.  East Lake’s 2016 Presenting Sponsor is PNC Bank.  This year’s supporting sponsors in Clarkston include CDF: A Collective Action Initiative and Resurgens Bank. The program is free to participants; however, entrepreneurs must meet strict attendance and participation standards.

The program is accepting applications from promising micro-entrepreneurs through November 16, 2015.  Please learn more by attending an upcoming information session:

  • Clarkston Community Information Sessions: October 13, 6-8 PM at Clarkston Community Center; Saturday, October 24, 10-Noon at Clarkston Community Center; November 5, 6-8 PM at Clarkston First Baptist Church
  • East Lake Community Information Sessions: October 14, 6-8 PM at Drew Charter School; October 19, 6-7 PM at the Villages of East Lake; November 7, 10-Noon at Zaban Recreation Center; November 12, 4-6 PM at Toomer Elementary School

Interested entrepreneurs can RSVP for information sessions and complete applications online at startmeaccelerator.org.  Additionally, we welcome business professionals and successful entrepreneurs to attend sessions to learn about volunteer mentorship opportunities.

Local partners including the Clarkston Community Center, Drew Charter School, East Lake Neighborhood Community Association (ELNCA), Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization (KNO), and Refugees Women’s Network play a critical role in supporting Start:ME entrepreneurs.

For more information on Start:ME, please visit startmeaccelerator.org.


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 Friends of Refugees, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) and local partners Clarkston Community Center and Refugee Women’s Network to support micro-entrepreneurs in the community of Clarkston, Georgia, since 2013. 2016 sponsors include CDF: A Collective Action Initiative and Resurgens Bank. The Clarkston program has graduated 38 ventures and runs annually from January through April.   

About Start:ME East Lake

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta works with the East Lake Foundation and local partners Drew Charter School, East Lake Neighborhood Community Association (ELNCA) and Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization (KNO) to support micro-entrepreneurs in the East Lake and neighboring Kirkwood communities of Atlanta. PNC Bank is the presenting sponsor, with additional support from Primerica Foundation. The East Lake program has graduated 16 ventures and runs annually from January through April.