Micro-Entrepreneur Accelerator Programs
START:ME, a 14 week accelerator program, works to unlock the true economic potential of communities (geographically defined neighborhoods and defined metro-wide groups) by providing the most promising micro-entrepreneurs (businesses with 1-4 employees) the business knowledge, network access and early-stage financing needed to develop their businesses. These businesses generate income for entrepreneurs and their families while at the same time build community vitality.
Since 2013, Social Enterprise @ Goizueta has worked with CDF - A Collective Action to use the Village Capital model of peer-driven enterprise acceleration to support micro-entrepreneurs in the Clarkston, Georgia community. In 2015, START:ME will expand to support more entrepreneurs in East Lake (City of Atlanta) via a new partnership with the East Lake Foundation.
To close the biggest gaps in business thinking, our micro-entrepreneurs work with hand-picked content providers and business mentors on the following topics:
- Understanding Customers which helps each entrepreneur develop a customer-facing value proposition;
- Developing Effective Business Plans which helps entrepreneurs understand how to plan for customer development and resource deployment;
- Developing Coherent Financial Plans which allow entrepreneurs to demonstrate the economic promise of their ventures; and
- Navigating Legal Issues which introduce entrepreneurs to legal issues and to pro-bono sources of legal assistance.
Thanks to the generosity of START:ME program supporters, $30,000 in low-interest business loans are provided to the three most promising entrepreneurs in each cohort ¿ as selected by program peers, and not by an expert panel of lending experts.
The 2013 START:ME (VilCap:Start) Clarkston program was the subject of the Emmy nominated documentary, The New Entrepreneur: Odyssey for a Dream, which aired on Georgia PBA 30.
To learn more about the program, please visit startmeaccelerator.org.
Catalyzing Social Impacts Class Projects
Our 2014 projects include:
- Researching and developing a micro-franchising business model for CARE.
- Designing a 10 year anniversary give-away of 50,000 books to an Atlanta community for Better World Books, based on data analysis.
- Developing a plan for growth in the institutional market for The Turnip Truck, a farm-fresh, independent foodservice distributor in Atlanta.
- Developing a sustainable plan to transition patients from the hospital emergency room to a community-based health clinic that provides subsidized dental care in a non-emergency setting for Emory's Urban Health Initiative.
Previously, in 2013, a team of 6 BBA students evaluated the feasibility of a mattress recycling business for our partner, Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative (AWBI). MBA students worked with Truly Living Well (TLW) to develop a plan to measure and communicate TLW's social impacts to facilitate fundraising and with Better World Books to collect and analyze information about their socially-oriented customer segment.