START:ME Clarkston is a collaboration of CDF with Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (at Emory University), Village Capital, Refugee Women’s Network, and the Clarkston Community Center. This program is designed to provide the most promising entrepreneurs with the business tools, network access, and financing they need to develop viable and sustainable businesses in Clarkston. The program focuses on helping new businesses develop viable and sustainable strategies for growth and success in a competitive market. The program is held one evening a week for approximately 14 weeks, and connects young entrepreneurs with business leaders from across the Atlanta area.
Fifteen selected Clarkston entrepreneurs will take part in an intensive skills-based mentoring program. Entrepreneurs will work closely with a panel of banking experts, and will be mentored by a group of business leaders and peers. The program pre-commits $30,000 of loans for the top business proposals. The three most promising entrepreneurs will receive low-interest working capital loans at the end of the program. Unlike other programs, the entrepreneurs themselves select who receives these loans.