WEI Entrepreneurs Showcased at IA Demo Days

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Invest Atlanta’s Business and Retention (BRE) team recently hosted two Demo Days for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative’s inaugural participants. Over the course of two days, Invest Atlanta learned more about their businesses, and the WEI entrepreneurs learned more about the services Invest Atlanta can provide.

The Invest Atlanta BRE team shared information about Invest Atlanta’s resources and programs. They covered many topics, including access to capital, site location, government procurement, supply chain, workforce, and tools to help the entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

“We’re committed to seeing you succeed,” said BRE Manager Kent Spencer. “We want success, big success, coming out of WEI.”

The WEI entrepreneurs come from different backgrounds and run a variety of types of businesses. Yet everyone who presented at the Demo Day demonstrated the intelligence, drive, and willingness to take risks that any successful business owner must have.

Logan Williams is preparing to transition away from her successful towing business, Rapid Parking Solutions, to create an innovative 12-week academy for truck drivers. She plans to craft a well-rounded curriculum for drivers along with in-the-field training. She’ll also offer hands-on experience with other aspects of the business, such as dispatching and customer service. Logan’s main need is finding a space for her business, with an office and an outdoor training area. Spencer told her he could help her locate an available space within her budget.

Tonya Hicks, who describes herself as a “mom, entrepreneur and electrician,” has started the company Women Do Everything. Tonya’s company provides home repair and management services for professional women and couples in the Atlanta Metro Area. Hicks is also looking for office space and wants to hire full-time staff, with benefits. BRE coordinator Cesar Vence told her about the benefits of locating in an Opportunity Zones, as well as the Eastside TAD grants and small business loans available through Invest Atlanta.

“The feedback from my presentation was very good for me,” said Hicks.

Mayor Reed first had the vision for WEI during his first campaign for mayor, and under the leadership of Executive Director Theia Washington Smith, WEI has provided the first group of entrepreneurs a high-quality workspace at the Flatiron Building, tech resources through Microsoft, and mentorship opportunities. In its first year, WEI has already become more than a brick and mortar resource—it’s now a vibrant, collaborative and supportive community that will support entrepreneurs for years to come.

Invest Atlanta and WEI will continue to support program participants as they build their companies, and both organizations are especially focused on providing the right resources to make the path to job creation more accessible for Atlanta’s entrepreneurs.

Spencer and Vence were excited to find out all of the entrepreneurs said they were planning to stay and grow, hiring locally in the City of Atlanta.

“We want to stay here and keep our business here,” said Lynn Lill of Craftbox Girls. “We love Atlanta!”