Start:ME Program helps entrepreneurs in Kirkwood, East Lake and Clarkston

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt October 17, 2015
A photo illustration of the Start:ME Program. Photo provided by Doug Wood.

A photo illustration of the Start:ME Program. Photo provided by Doug Wood.

This story has been updated. 

A business accelerator program is taking applications from local entrepreneurs who want to take their businesses to the next level.

Start:Micro-Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (Start:ME), is a 14-week program that offers business training, mentorship support and early stage-financing to promising entrepreneurs, according to a press release.

It’s backed by the Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G) at Emory University in partnership with Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), Friends of Refugees and the East Lake Foundation.

Doug Wood, a Kirkwood resident, is also involved with the program.

“The program is free to participants; however, entrepreneurs must meet strict attendance and participation standards,” Wood said. “At the completion of the program entrepreneurs may apply for low interest loans from a pre-committed $30,000 loan fund. Applications can be found at and are due Nov. 16, 2015.”

The program will also host the following information sessions for people looking to learn more about it.

– Clarkston Community Information Sessions:  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 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

“This program is open any microbusiness,” Wood said. “A variety of business have successfully completed the program including a consulting firm, electrician, bakery, specialty food producers, consumer products, and retail operations.”

According to the press release, the program has helped 38 businesses in Clarkston since 2013 and 16 in the East Lake neighborhood since 2015. Wood said the program is also open to businesses in Kirkwood.

“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 press release says.

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