ATLANTA – Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) at Emory University teamed with Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), East Lake Foundation and Friends of Refugees to support 32 promising micro-entrepreneurs in the Clarkston and East Lake communities through the Start:Micro-Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (Start:ME).

The 14-week program offered business training, mentorship support and early-stage financing to promising micro-entrepreneurs (early stage businesses employing 1-4 employees) to develop viable and sustainable businesses. Entrepreneurs have competed with one another for an opportunity to receive a loan investment from a loan pool of $30,000 in each community ($60,000 in total).  The loans are peer-selected by the entrepreneurs in each cohort based on a series of ratings over the course of the program.

As part of National Small Business Week, [highlight]more than 125 guests came together Thursday May 5 at Agnes Scott College[/highlight] for the 2016 Start:ME Showcase which featured a market-place for entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services, unique foods sourced from local chefs and bakers, keynote address from Leona Barr-Davenport (President and CEO, Atlanta Business League), and loan investment announcements.

The following mico-entreprenuers were selected by their cohort peers to receive a loan of up to $10,000 to help start or grow their businesses over the next three years:

Clarkston Community

Jason Mayers & Stanella Victor of Fix My Repairs
Eco-friendly Heating and Air company (HVAC) and household repairs, too.

Deidra Myers of The Tipsy Flowerpot
Floral arrangements with upcycled vases made from bottles.

Karlotta Washington of Mark Squared
Resource center for photographers/filmmakers, artists, and entrepreneurs.

East Lake Community

Mia Canada of That’s a Wrap!
Luxury gift wrapping boutique nestled in the heart of the historic Kirkwood. 

Sailauna Scott-Madison of Scott-Madison Makeup & Photographer
On-site full makeup application and portrait photography.

Ebon L. Harris, Sr. of Cleanganics
Environmentally friendly residential and commercial cleaning services.

“Our 2016 cohorts represent a strong group of 32 entrepreneurs that provide important and valuable services to the community” said Program Director Brian Goebel.  “However, most importantly, these business leaders are also committed to making Clarkston and East Lake a better place to live and work.”

Start:ME is made possible through the generous support of presenting corporate and foundation sponsors including Northern Trust (Multi-Community Sponsor), PNC Bank (East Lake Presenting Sponsor), CDF: A Collective Action Initiative (Clarkston Supporting Sponsor) and Resurgens Bank (Clarkston Supporting Sponsor). Other local partners including the Clarkston Community Center, Drew Charter School, East Lake Neighborhood Community Association (ELNCA), and Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization (KNO), played a critical role in supporting Start:ME entrepreneurs.

For more information on Start:ME, please visit

2016 Cohort Stats & Facts

  • 32 micro-entrepreneurs representing 30 different micro-business ventures
  • 63% women; 84% minority-owned; 22% foreign born
  • 78% booked revenue with average annual revenues of $16,253 (max of $75,000)
  • 50% have started previous ventures
  • $60,000 loan investment pool allocated based on peer-selection
  • 50+ Atlanta business leaders serving as mentors / coaches

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 in marginalized communities both here in the US and abroad. SE@G believes that bigger isn’t always better and works to close the micro-business gap in local communities to strengthen neighborhood vitality.

About Start:ME Clarkston

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) has worked with Friends of Refugees, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) and local partner Clarkston Community Center 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.