PIN Awards First Pilot Program Grant
theClubhou.se: Mesh Network will provide hundreds of Georgia innovators and entrepreneurs access to training and other entrepreneurship opportunities.
ATLANTA, December 8, 2020 – The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation has announced its first funded pilot program, theClubhou.se: Mesh Network.
This organization aims to empower entrepreneurs and provide resources to create new businesses in traditionally under-resourced communities. The pilot was competitively selected and will receive $250,000 to expand its existing efforts in Augusta, Ga., to four other Georgia cities, which will be determined by a feasibility study launched by Make Startups, a division of theClubhou.se, in early 2021.
“Through educational and community building programs to support inclusive entrepreneurship and technology development, this program will help ensure all Georgians will have equitable opportunities to succeed,” said Grace Belangia, co-founder of Make Startups.
theClubhou.se: Mesh Network will provide hundreds of Georgia innovators and entrepreneurs with better access to accredited entrepreneurship training, robust digital collaboration statewide and seed capital. Throughout 2021, the program will partner with local colleges and universities to train and provide certification for approximately 250 entrepreneurs, which the organization projects will result in 500-800 jobs throughout Georgia. theClubhou.se: Mesh Network is also expected to achieve a sustainable annual revenue of more than $1 million, which would allow it to continue and earn additional revenue following the completion of the Partnership pilot.
The pilot, which was recently approved by the Partnership’s advisory board at its first meeting on Dec. 2, will provide an essential foundation for educational, entrepreneurial and technological opportunities throughout Georgia while advancing homegrown talent and creating opportunities for participants to economically impact their own communities. The Partnership has also supported four other pilot programs through the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge. Applications for the next cycle of pilots will be accepted beginning in January 2021.
At the Partnership’s recent meeting, the board also welcomed its newest member: Kevin Byrne, CEO of The University Financing Foundation Inc. (TUFF). Byrne joins a group that includes several Georgia CEOs, as well as academic, technology and entrepreneurial leaders.
“We are thrilled to launch our first pilot portfolio, which embodies the true mission and vision of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation,” said Debra Lam, executive director of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation. “theClubhou.se: Mesh Network represents the Partnership’s guiding principles of talent, connectedness, diversity, sustainability and identity, and shares our aspirations of ensuring we foster a culture of innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship across all of Georgia’s communities.”
Eric Parker is the founder and president of theClubhou.se and Co-Founder of Make Startups. “Disadvantaged entrepreneurs often face barriers in knowledge and access to affordable capital. We saw an opportunity to bridge this gap. This funding and partnership enable sustained long-term efforts essential to growing social innovation and access to capital across Georgia’s communities.”
Grounded in the vision of combating systemic funding advantages that support entrepreneurship, the Make Startups division of theClubhou.se seeks to ensure those in mid-size and rural communities have the opportunity to develop the skills needed to operate a business and acquire affordable capital through partnerships with existing Entrepreneurship Support Organizations (ESOs).
“Through educational and community-building programs to support inclusive entrepreneurship and technology development, this program will help ensure all Georgians will have equitable opportunities to succeed,” said Grace Belangia, co-founder of Make Startups.
About the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation
The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation is a public-private partnership that launched in 2020 to lead coordinated, statewide efforts to position Georgia as the Technology Capital of the East Coast. Under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, board chair Dr. G.P. Bud Peterson and executive director Debra Lam, the organization guides efforts and pilot programs to help foster access, growth, entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the state, with the ultimate goal of achieving inclusive innovation throughout Georgia. The organization aspires to define Georgia’s entrepreneurial identity as a national leader in technology research, development and implementation. More information is available at PartnershipForInclusiveInnvoation.org.
About Make Startups
Make Startups is a division of theClubhou.se and is built on the belief that inspiration, education and enthusiasm are the quantifiable core of entrepreneurism. theClubhou.se, founded in 2012 is an innovation center based out of Augusta, Georgia has produced and organized a wide span of events and programs. As a non-profit, co-founders Eric Parker and Grace Belangia and their team have lead startup showcases, education programs, TEDxAugusta and Code Boot Camp @ theClubhou.se. These endeavors have spurred the development of over 100 businesses, the creation of 1000 jobs, raised over $2 million to support innovation ecosystem development, led STEM education efforts teaching over 2,000 kids robotics and coding and organized community events for over 25,000 people.