Business Plan Competition Shines Spotlight on Atlanta’s Entrepreneurial Community
By Isabelle Monlouis
The Atlanta metropolitan area is one of the broadest and most diverse entrepreneurial markets in the nation. Among other 2018 accolades, The ATL has been named the top city for startups that isn’t New York or San Francisco, 4th in the U.S. for the greatest average number of female-owned businesses and a top 10 tech startup ecosystem worldwide for local connectedness. It’s also home to several dozen higher educational institutions, numerous incubators and entrepreneurial hubs.
So it’s no surprise that Envolve, a nonprofit committed to developing and cultivating entrepreneurial ecosystems, chose Atlanta as one of the expansion markets in 2018 for its annual Envolve Award USA business plan competition.
The competition offers Atlanta’s early-stage to established entrepreneurs the opportunity to win up to $25,000 in interest-free funding, as well as access to business expertise and additional financing options through two Envolve partners, SCORE and Kiva. For those whose big idea hasn’t yet made it from the back of a cocktail napkin onto spreadsheets, Envolve provides a business plan generator and other tools to help budding entrepreneurs prepare for prime time.
Past winners have used the Envolve Award as a springboard to success. The founder of Court Buddy, a Miami-based online legal services access company, was featured in Forbes as the 14th African-American female founder to raise $1 million or more for her startup. The Guinean brothers behind the Bronx’s Ginjan now sell their ginger drink in 90 New York City metro area stores as well as Whole Foods Market stores throughout New York City and Long Island.
Envolve CEO Christopher Upperman has first-hand knowledge of Atlanta from his time as a student at Georgia State.
“The metro Atlanta area and its entrepreneurial ecosystem is thriving and we want to do our part to support aspiring entrepreneurs of all backgrounds,” Upperman said. “It’s our hope we can encourage others to support worthy entrepreneurs through financial assistance, workshops and other provisions.”
The deadline to enter the 2018 Envolve Award USA is Sept. 21. For more information about the Atlanta market competition, visit http://bit.ly/getenvolvedatl.
Isabelle Monlouis is a professor of practice in the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Institute of Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business and associate director of the Herman J. Russell, Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship. Her areas of specialization are corporate innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership development.