Starting and Growing Atlanta's Small Businesses

About Us

Start:ME is a free small business training program that provides entrepreneurs the tools and connections necessary to build and grow successful businesses.

What Start:ME Delivers



Hands-on business training by Emory's Goizueta Business School



Connections to mentors, support services, and fellow entrepreneurs


Grants for promising ventures and connections to capital providers

Our Network


Our Communities


"The most diverse square mile in America"

East Lake

"A vibrant community of entrepreneurs"

Start:ME Stories



Our Partners & Supporters

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Our Team

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Erin Igleheart

Program Director

Erin manages Start:ME and engages other small business support organizations.

Fun fact: she summited Mount Kilimanjaro. The view was pretty awesome.

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Alina Bills

Program Manager

Alina oversees the operations, marketing, and alumni programming of Start:ME.

Fun fact: she was a shuttle driver through New York City in the Bronx and Manhattan boroughs. 

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Dylan Bahena

Program Associate

Dylan manages Start:ME marketing and program operations.

Fun fact: he was a member of his college's Quidditch team.

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Adrienne Hines

Equity and Business Development Intern 

Adrienne reviews Start:ME materials and standards to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Fun fact: she is a fraternal twin!

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Maria Peck

Clarkston Program Lead

Maria manages and delivers the Clarkston accelerator program.

Fun fact: she was named one of the 50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia in 2021.

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Kareem Hall

East Lake + Southside Program Lead

Kareem manages and delivers the East Lake and Southside accelerator program.

Fun fact: he is a world class baby toy assembler.

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Sushma Barakoti

Clarkston Coordinator

Sushma manages the Clarkston program’s coalition, recruitment, and local alumni programming.

Fun fact: she is also a Start:ME alum and actively working her business, Sunavworld.

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Mercedes Uzuegbunam

East Lake Coordinator

Mercedes manages the East Lake program’s coalition, recruitment, and local alumni programming.

Fun fact: she loves to travel -  Mercedes has backpacked to 12 countries, 20 states, and Puerto Rico. Including biking from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Ghent, Belgium.

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Fran Carroll

Southside Coordinator


Fran manages the Southside program’s coalition, recruitment, and local alumni programming.

Fun fact: she is a two-time graduate of Georgia State University - go Panthers!