Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative now open for applications

The inaugural class of Women Entrepreneurs were presented at Mayor Kasim Reed’s State of the City address in February.

The City of Atlanta has announced that the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI), the nation’s only city-funded incubator for women business owners, has opened the application process for choosing its next 15-person group of promising entrepreneurs.

Building on the success of its first class, WEI will accept applications through Sept. 15 from woman entrepreneurs living and/or licensed to do business in Atlanta. The 15-month program – running January 2018 through March 2019 – fosters growth and sustainability through business education, financial literacy, access to mentors and consultants, and peer-to-peer networking.

Launched in 2014, and advised by a seven-member advisory board chaired by Carol B. Tomé, chief financial officer of The Home Depot, WEI aims to align entrepreneurial opportunities for women in Atlanta with the city’s mission of elevating and strengthening its economic development efforts. Atlanta was recently ranked number 18 out of 50 in Dell’s 2017 Women Entrepreneur Index.

“WEI’s first class of businesses demonstrates that women entrepreneurs are fearless, pioneering and worth championing,” said Theia Smith, the founding executive director of WEI. “Their passion and accomplishments are laying the foundation for the next wave of entrepreneurs seeking to accelerate their businesses, with support from WEI.”

WEI participants are chosen by a selection committee in a competitive process, which evaluates applicants according to the following criteria:

· The business must be 100 percent woman-owned and the owner must reside in and/or be licensed to do business within the City of Atlanta;

· Valid, up-to-date business license must be on file with the City of Atlanta;

· Proof of profit generated by the business’s operations;

· Three or fewer people (including the founder) employed at the business;

· A business model favorable to being located in a collaborative, shared workspace environment;

· Submission of completed application, per its requirements; and

· Willingness to participate in in-person pitch interview(s) with the Selection Committee.

The 15 businesses selected will be housed in Downtown’s historic Flatiron Building. For 15 months, their setting will be a technologically advanced incubator designed to invigorate them with resources, mentorship engagement and collaboration critical to growing their businesses, at no cost to them.

More than 100 applications were received for the first cohort of WEI, with 83 women entrepreneurs successfully completing the application process for consideration for the 15 available spaces. Learn more about WEI’s pioneers by visiting this link.

To apply, visit weiatlanta.com.

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