Business and Society Institute Programs

Meaningful Change Purposeful Action

We put research into action through innovative programs that create better markets and stronger communities both here in Atlanta and globally.

Our Programs

With 1-4 employees, microbusinesses may be individually small, but collectively create a big impact accounting for 7 million U.S. jobs and more than $350 billion in total payroll. When successful, microbusinesses generate income for entrepreneurs and their families while at the same time build neighborhood vitality. 

Start:ME Accelerator Program

Start:ME is an intensive 12-week accelerator program that provides the most promising micro-entrepreneurs (those starting businesses with 1-4 employees) in marginalized metro Atlanta communities business training, mentorship support, and early-stage financing needed to develop their businesses.

Start:ME has been working in the Clarkston community since 2013, expanded to Atlanta's East Lake neighborhood in 2015, and most recently launched in the Southside neighborhood in 2018. The program conducts sessions weekly each spring (January through April) working with 15-18 promising micro-entrepreneurs in each community. The program is delivered by Goizueta Business School with lead community partners Friends of Refugees, East Lake Foundation, Focused Community Strategies (FCS), and Purpose Built Schools Atlanta. The program has served 303 ventures, 82% of which are owned by people of color. 

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Start:ME 2022 Cohorts


48 Small Businesses Graduate Program; $33K in Seed Investments

Congrats to the 48 promising small businesses that graduated our 2022 Start:ME Accelerator, a free, intensive three month business training program for promising ventures in the metro-Atlanta communities of East Lake, Clarkston and Atlanta's Southside. Based on peer and mentor ratings, 18 ventures were selected to receive seed investment grants and other awards totaling $33K.

Grounds for Empowerment (Virtual) Experience

GFE Cupping

Balancing the Scale of Financial Equity

Grounds for Empowerment (GFE), one of our flagship specialty coffee program led by Peter Roberts and Giselle Barrera, demonstrates the best of both connecting women specialty coffee farmers in Latin America with trained business school students and experienced industry mentors to advance genuine, equitable economic opportunities. New article in explores how virtual program is impacting farmers and students.

2021 Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide


Creating New, Better, Transparent Benchmarks

Our specialty coffee research team led by Professor Peter Roberts released the 2021 edition of the Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide (SCTG) which summarizes coffee pricing contract data from 57,405 green-coffee contracts, representing 1.2 billion pounds of coffee at a value of $2.4 billion USD. Produced annually, the Transaction Guide is a useful tool for both sellers and buyers of differentiated green coffees who want to see increased equity and economic sustainability within their supply streams. Guide is FREE to download in English, Espanol, and Portugues.

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