START:ME Program Assisting New Business Owners in Clarkston and East Lake


Contact: Mitch Leff, (404) 861-4769,

Kim Speece, (404) 849-6579,

START:ME Program Supporting Entrepreneurs in Clarkston, East Lake;

$60K in Financing through Emory’s Goizueta Business School to be Awarded May 5

ATLANTA (May 5, 2016) -- Social Enterprise@Goizueta, an Academic Center within the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, is helping entrepreneurs in Clarkson and East Lake learn what it takes to build a successful business. Through Goizueta’s Start Micro-Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (Start:ME), each new small business owner recently completed an intensive 14-week program created to guide them toward success.

The program provided business training, mentoring and early stage financing to micro-entrepreneurs who live or have businesses in Clarkston or East Lake.

  • $60,000 will be invested in small, low-cost loans geared toward the new businesses.
  • Entrepreneurs were selected for the intensive program that provides mentors to entrepreneurs giving them access to financial, legal and other business experts.
  • The entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to network in the community to grow their businesses.

Interview Opportunities:

The 2016 Start:Me Entrepreneurs include:

  • Akissi Y. Stokes of WunderGrubs- Healthy, tasty treats made from meal worms. Granola, nuts, berries, and fruit.
  • Stanella Victor of Fix My Repairs- Eco-friendly Heating and Air company (HVAC) and household repairs too.
  • Christopher Wedge of Sons of Pitches FC- An East Lake based soccer club offering intown soccer leagues, tournaments, pickup games and social soccer events
  • Ebon Harris of Cleanganics- An East Lake based residential and commercial cleaning company that uses environmentally friendly products
  • Jen Price of The Atlanta Beer Boutique- A craft beer bottle shop and beer experience provider in East Lake
  • Mia Canada of That’s a Wrap- Kirkwood’s luxury gift wrap boutique

Past participants of the Start:ME program are also available for interviews and updates on their businesses.

  • Ronnie Thomas- Fun Weird Science- East Lake 2015
  • Thekla Holder-Crystal Green Cleaning- Clarkston 2013
  • Deborah Davis- Sisters IV- Organic Skin Cleaning- East Lake 2015

Mentors working with Start:ME:

Jennifer Scott, Coca-Cola Company,, 404-304-0595 (Clarkston)

Ethan Summers, Georgia Pacific,, 205-454-4957 (East Lake)

Start Up Programs Enhance Success

Programs like Start:ME are helping entrepreneurs be more successful. A study being conducted at Goizueta in partnership with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and Village Capital called the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI) works with accelerator programs around the world to collect and analyze data on new businesses.

  • The data has now been collected from fifteen different Village Capital programs providing a chance to study the performance of the ventures aided by different Village Capital programs.
  • The study looks at revenue, employment and investment of entrepreneurs who participated in the program.
  • The study then compares the results to those who did not participate in an accelerator program.

First year results show those who participated in an accelerator mentoring program had huge growth over those who were not selected by such a program. In fact, participants who were rejected from a Village Capital Program had fewer employees and less revenue growth, but the most significant difference was in one year investment growth. Participating entrepreneurs made almost $48,000 more in investment growth for their companies.

For more information:
Program Summary

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.