Georgia’s communities want to better equip themselves to support their small businesses and build a business-enabling environment. Whether as a result of the “Entrepreneur Friendly” initiative or forward-thinking leadership, they are doing things better. Some of these best practices reach far beyond ‘chamber 101’ – they are non-traditional, entrepreneurial and creative.
A base requirement of the Entrepreneur-Friendly (EF) program was that each community had to create a business resource directory so that not only was leadership aware of resources but that these resources were accessible at any time to everyone.
- Camden County – resource center, business educational programs
- Coffee County – greater public resource awareness, educational programs, dedicated staff; easy handout resource guide to promote throughout county (government offices, office retailers, professionals)
- Irwin County – county-wide merchant support, unique buy local push
- Berrien County – unique, county-wide buy local program
- Elbert County – broadband upgrades & integration; ten free 30-second radio spots on 3 local stations
- Lowndes County – 5-county MSA regional resource website, SEEDS Center, Economic Gardening, mentoring/coaching, business plan competition
- Carroll County – business incubator, resource center, technology & youth academy
- Carroll/Haralson/Heard – West GA Youth Academy-youth submit business ideas, receive mentoring and licensed business by the end of the 14-week program
- Oglethorpe County – early youth academy worm farm
- City of Snellville – online Tool Box, Entrepreneur Youth Academy, small business kiosk, mentoring, peer advisory board
- Gwinnett County – Amazing E; entrepreneurship council encompassing all municipalities; a component of their county-wide strategic plan; (national award winner)
- College Park – Entrepreneur center, incubator, educational programs, networking
- Glynn County – Technology Academy
- Putnam County – $30,000 grant pool provided by the development authority; requiring SBDC assistance
- Haralson County – waived business license fees for one year: gained 61 new businesses and 105 jobs; Honda Lock funded robotics teacher and equipment for high school
- Floyd County – technology/creative class focus, network
- Sandy Springs – 50% discount on permitting fees for one year
- Milledgeville – BOOST: $100-$1000 grant to downtown shop owners; Boosters give $200/year and vote for award winners
- College Hill Alliance / Eight County, Middle Georgia Effort – “Maker Movement” – a growing national network of artisans, craftsmen, business owners, entrepreneurs and innovators building new, locally-driven economies.
- Fannin County – Youth entrepreneur challenge
- Cobb County – one-stop-shop accelerator, business association liaison, B2B and B2C Roundtables
Gathering Places for Entrepreneurs – co-location, hot spots, incubators and the like are popping up in the Metro Atlanta area and throughout the state creating that critical eco-system entrepreneurs need, learning from each other.