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Helping micro-businesses thrive

Richard White III mentors small business owners through Emory’s Start:ME accelerator program.

Starting and growing a business in today’s economy is no easy task, particularly for immigrants, so when Buckhead resident Richard White III, vice president of White Brothers Auto Parts, was asked to participate in an accelerator program that mentors entrepreneurs from the East Lake and Clarkston communities, he readily agreed.

Sponsored by Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, the 14-week Start:ME course teaches small business owners with one to four employees how to take their companies to the next level. Entrepreneurs learn how to obtain capital, develop financial skills and pitch their business plans to bankers.

Start:ME participant Jehan Spann, CFO of United Moving Systems, has seen his business grow 50 percent annually, but he needed capital to acquire storage space so he could offer additional services. Spann also needed assistance with hiring practices and a better understanding of labor laws. During the course, he and White developed an employee handbook and moved the business from Spann’s home to a warehouse, storage facility and employee training center.

“Participating in the program is challenging, but rewarding,” says White. “It helps entrepreneurs accomplish their dreams by giving them access to real world customers, lenders and partners in a controlled setting.”

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