Thank you for your interest in the Start:ME COVID-19 Small Business Resilience Support Momentum campaign. This crowdfunding campaign has ended, but you can still support our Start:ME program.

Start:ME COVID-19 Small Business Resilience Support

Start:ME COVID-19 Small Business Resilience Support Image
Raised toward our $20,000 Goal
53 Gifts
Project has ended
Project ended on May 15, at 11:59 PM EDT
Project Owners

A Strong Finish; Together We Raised $16,395 to Support Small Businesses!

May 19, 2020

Thank you for making our Start:ME COVID-19 Small Business Resilience Support campaign a success.  We had a strong finish to the campaign with a flurry of gifts arriving in our final few days. 


In addition to the $7,760 raised via this Momentum campaign from our Start:ME community, we we’re able to secure $8,635 from students and Emory colleagues offline.  We’re proud to report a grand total of $16,395 was raised for Start:ME’s COVID-19 Small Business Resilience Support Fund!


On behalf of the Start:ME team and the more than 250 alumni entrepreneurs in our network, thank you for your generous support.


We are off and running on our COVID-19 support which has already included a series of events including virtual founders circle along with the purchase and deployment of loaned Chromebooks.  With your support, we will continue to push forward in helping the small businesses remain resilient through emergency continuity grants, traditional business transition to online sales support, special learning and expert advisory sessions, and more.


We will keep you posted on our progress via future updates.  But if you want to follow our efforts in real time, please follow us on social media – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


For those that love shopping, please continue to support small businesses in the Start:ME network with your direct purchases of products and services. Please check out our new Start:ME Atlanta Shopping Guide featuring all alumni ventures. Find everything from sweet treats to handmade gifts to home care improvement help. And yes, mask makers are in the guide too (see Rochelle Porter Design and Johari Africa / Amani Women Center).


Thank you for investing alongside us to support small business resilience.  We like to say that entrepreneurship is a team sport—we’re glad you’re on our team!


Graduation Season and Final Stretch of Campaign

May 11, 2020

We enjoyed celebrating Start:ME’s 2020 cohort class of 49 small business owners at last week’s virtual Showcase Graduation event which included remarks from Goizueta Business School Dean Erika James, investment award announcements from corporate partners, and inspiring speeches from cohort members—watch event recording and read media release with details on seed investment winners. And of course, we had a pretty amazing dance party to close out the Showcase (see photo).


Speaking of graduates, Emory 2020 business school grads made Start:ME the beneficiary of both class and individual gifts. Over the weekend, the Evening MBA Class of 2020 (EvMBA2020) presented Start:ME with a check for $6,500 in support of our COVID-19 Small Business Resilience Fund. Social Enterprise Fellows jumped in as well generously directing $1,500 in support of Start:ME. We’re grateful to the Emory student community for their support of Atlanta area small businesses!


We’re wrapping up our campaign on May 15th and will be doing our final push to help us move closer to our goal. Thank you for investing alongside us – we’re grateful for your support.


We appreciate you sharing the campaign with those in your networks, via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, who would be interested in contributing as we march toward our May 15th finish line!


Super Tuesday—Celebrating #StartME2020 + #GivingTuesdayNow

May 05, 2020

It’s a super Tuesday today. We are celebrating two BIG things today:


1. #StartME2020 graduating cohorts at our virtual Showcase event this evening from 6-8 PM.  Start:ME alum dj kant stop will join us along with Dean Erika James, 2020 cohort member speakers, and more. Please join us on Zoom at  


2. #GivingTuesdayNow is here.  Thank you for supporting Start:ME.  Please encourage others in your network to join invest alongside you for Giving Tuesday.   


Our COVID-19 small business support efforts continue.  Last week we held our first Start:ME Alumni virtual Town Hall meeting which featured experts and peers sharing more about COVID-19 support resources, including Federal program updates on PPP and EIDL, business continuity strategies, unemployment process navigation, and creative business model pivots.  


Additionally, we’re thrilled to report that the Goizueta Evening MBA Class of 2020 is dedicating their graduation gift campaign to Start:ME’s COVID-19 Business Continuity Support efforts.  Students have rallied on behalf of small businesses raising more than $6,000 thus far.  We will be celebrating their gift at their Class Graduation Celebration this Friday.


We hope you can join us tonight for our Showcase event!  Thank you for your support (and happy Giving Tuesday). 


Your support is providing a helping hand to Start:ME and small businesses!

April 27, 2020

Thank you to our new donors that have joined the campaign in the last couple of days--- we’ve seen many of our Start:ME volunteer business mentors contribute their support.  As we march towards our 2020 Start:ME cohort graduation event on May 5, we look forward to pushing our campaign totals higher!  Join us for the celebration- please register here.


We’ve been working hard alongside community partners to encourage policy makers to appropriate more funding to small business support programs administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA).  Those efforts have paid off as this week, more money was approved by Congress and we’ve been working to share information about reinstated funding opportunities and how to apply.  We are hopeful that more owners will be able to participate in round two.  The Start:ME team will be holding a virtual Town Hall next week for all alumni small businesses to learn more about government support programs along with other resources and strategies.


Stories of resilience continue to emerge. Jeannell Darden of Moisture Love (Start:ME Southside alumni venture) was featured on WSB radio earlier this week.  Since more customers are in need of hair care products as many salons remain closed, she has seen average daily sales skyrocket more than 700% during COVID-19 for her plant-based hair product which specializes in care for curly hair:


"It's changed the course of my family. I'm able to help support our household, and if my husband's job falls back, for once in a very long time, I'm able to step in and fill that gap--and there's just no words to really explain what that feels like."


Thank you for your support.  Consider sharing with your network why you’re supporting Start:ME during these trying times. Let’s keep moving forward together as customers, neighbors, investors, and advocates for small businesses!


Let’s keep moving forward together!

April 17, 2020

It’s been a week of mixed emotions for us here at Start:ME as we have had a lot to celebrate while at the same time have increased concerns for the ability of small businesses to sustain without more emergency funds being reallocated by Congress for CARES Act programs.


More on the celebration first. We’re thrilled to share that our 2020 Start:ME cohort program (14 sessions over 11 weeks) has officially wrapped up via virtual sessions including final video pitches. The 50 entrepreneurs and 75 volunteer business mentors persevered and got to the finish line. We’re excited to celebrate the 2020 group including announcing $30,000 in seed investments at our virtual Showcase Graduation on May 5th from 6-8 PM. Please join us – register here!


More on our concern for small businesses. The CARES Act that was passed last month set aside $350 Billion to support small businesses continuity through the Payroll Protection Program better known as PPP. Unfortunately, the funds for PPP have been exhausted and as of yesterday, no additional applications are being accepted. Many of the entrepreneurs we work with had applications in process that have now been denied or were preparing to apply, but had not been able to do so yet (stated deadline was June 30). We’re partnering with others in the community to encourage Congress to provide additional funding to meet the outstanding needs of the many small businesses. 


The fact that SBA processed 14 years worth of loans in just 14 days shows how unprecedented the economic impact across the country is. The emergency funds you’ve contributed are even more critical as we launch new COVID-19 support efforts including our first virtual Founders Circle session tomorrow for Start:ME alumni ventures facilitated by a licensed therapist Dr. Katrina Pittman. In addition to financial needs, we’ve seen a tremendous interest in mental health and peer-support to help business owners cope with anxiety and concerns.


Thank you for your support. Let’s keep moving forward together as customers, neighbors, investors, and advocates for small businesses!


Thank you for supporting Start:Me small businesses

April 10, 2020

The momentum is picking up. Thanks to our many new contributors, our campaign has doubled its total since last week with over $3,300 now raised.


We’ve been working hard to advocate and promote the needs of small businesses along with sharing stories of resilience via local media including feature on Fox-5 Atlanta and

  • Check out this Fox-5 Atlanta story on the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and how Start:ME entrepreneurs Sam of SMUGS Fitness and Wedge of Sons of Pitches Soccer are planning to support contractors and employees
  • Read this new article on highlighting the challenges and examples of resilience from seven different Start:ME ventures delivery baked goods, providing kids programming online, and much more.

Additionally, our team is up to speed on the CARES Act and its multiple small business aid programs thanks to online training sessions held by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of Georgia. We will be providing more information and coordinating direct referrals to ensure that as many businesses as possible can take advantage of Federal support. Additionally, we’re communicating how sole proprietors can apply for unemployment benefits through the State of Georgia starting on Monday, April 13th - a critical support channel that were happy to finally see open up!


Thank you for your support.  Together, we’ll keep moving forward.


Thank you for your support of Start:ME!

April 03, 2020

Thank you for supporting Start:ME and the 200+ small businesses we proudly serve.  As you know COVID-19 has impacted us all significantly particularly small businesses in our community.


With your support, we’ve broken the $1,500 mark!  And momentum is building. 


Our Start:ME Small Business Resilience efforts thus far includes acquiring a pool of Chromebooks and getting those in the hands of entrepreneurs that lacked reliable computer access at home.  With schools now out for the remainder of the year these computers are not only helping entrepreneurs operate their business, but also providing access for their children to learn online.  We are also in the process of scheduling our first online Founders Circle sessions facilitated by a licensed therapist to respond to the growing anxiety of business owners.


Resilience matters now more than ever.  We wanted to share a few of the stories of resilience that we have heard from alumni entrepreneurs in recent days:

  • Amani's Women Center, a nonprofit supported by Johari Africa (Clarkston, '14), is producing masks that can be supplied to hospitals.
  • In an effort to support their cleaners, The Moxie Maids (Southside, ’19) is now offering grocery delivery services.
  • Teresa Afternoon (Clarkston, '20) has launched virtual art classes to help folks rediscover their artistic abilities during this stressful time.
  • Fun Weird Science (East Lake, ’15) is helping parents teach science at home with his online Intro to Programming Robots Virtual Course.

Thank you for your support.  Let’s keep moving forward together. You can also help us serve more small businesses by sharing your reason for giving with your personal network via FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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