$70K in Loan Funds Invested in East Lake and Clarkston Based Micro-Entrepreneurs

Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) at Emory University has teamed with Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), CDF: A Collective Action Initiative and the East Lake Foundation to support 31 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 microentrepreneurs (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 $70,000 across both communities.

More than 125 guests came together on Thursday May 7 at Agnes Scott College for the 2015 Start:ME Showcase which featured a market-place for entreprenuers to showcase their products and services, unique foods sourced from local chefs and bakers, keynote address from Noel Khalil (CEO, Columbia Residential), 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 3 years:

Clarkston Cohort:

  • Gary Chang of Simple ‘n’ Pure Natural Products (Natural home and beauty products)
  • Latoria Rachal of Up and Running Accounting (Small business accounting and bookkeeping)
  • Maralene Ferguson Bates of Sankofa Education Services (Tutoring and test prep services)

East Lake and neighboring Kirkwood Cohort:

  • Monica Tookes of Monica Tookes Art (Art retail and exhibition gallery)
  • Nicole Boney of Sweets, Treats and More (Dessert focused bakery)
  • Ronnie Thomas of Fun Weird Science (K-12 STEAM educational enrichment services)

Additionally, Nicole Massiah of East Lake’s Krumbz Bakery (Dessert focused bakery) was selected to receive a business loan from the Emory Impact Investing Group (EIIG). The loan is the first made by Emory University undergraduate students to a local Atlanta micro-entrepreneur.

Noel Khalil (CEO, Columbia Residential) provided the group with some important advice, “never forget your customer and the value you create through serving them – they won’t either.” Mr. Khalil challenged the group to stay determined in good times and bad on their entrepreneurial journey.

“Our 2015 cohorts represent an amazing group of entrepreneurs that provide education services, catering, baked goods, health and beauty products, videography, fashion, fitness, home repair, art, home décor and more” 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.”

In addition to CDF: A Collective Action Initiative and the East Lake Foundation, local Start:ME partners include the Clarkston Community Center, East Lake Neighborhood Community Association (ELNCA), Georgia United Credit Union and Refugee Women’s Network.

For more information on Start:ME program, 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 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.

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, ran from January through April 2015.