About the program

The Start:ME program will conduct a 14-week program with weekly sessions for promising micro-entrepreneurs (businesses with 1-4 employees) in Evanston as they develop their businesses through access to:

  • Intensive skills-based business training
  • Mentoring by an expert group of business leaders
  • Peer support offered by other entrepreneurs
  • Access to finance, legal and other business professionals
  • Opportunities to network in the community to promote and grow their business
  • Opportunities to work with lending experts
  • $30,000 pool of lowcost loans to be distributed amongst the top business ventures (as selected by program peers)
Who is Eligible to be a Start:ME Entrepreneur?

Target Entrepreneurs are 18 years or older; live, work, worship or provide valued products and services in the Evanston community; currently operating or planning to launch a micro-business; and are committed to attend every program session. Find out more about becoming an Entrepreneur.

Helping Start:ME Entrepreneurs

Start:ME recruits and deploys experienced groups of professional mentors to provide critical support for participating micro-entrepreneurs. Mentors provide ideas and feedback, and look for opportunities to connect our entrepreneurs to individuals and opportunities that will further support their businesses. Find out more about assisting our entrepreneurs by volunteering to become a mentor, facilitator, or lender panelist.

Start:ME Atlanta

The Start:ME Evanston program is a partner of the Emory University Start:ME program in Atlanta. The Start:Me model is no longer experimental and has established a proven track record of success.

  • Since 2013, the program has helped 52 micro-entrepreneurs start or grow a variety of businesses including tutoring assistance, cleaning services, driving school, event planning, legal services, and retail establishments.
  • 90% of participating ventures are minority and women owned businesses.
  • Loan investments of over $120,000 have flowed into the target neighborhoods.

Visit Emory's site at www.startmeaccelerator.org.