The inaugural class of Women Entrepreneurs were presented at the State of the City in February.

Fifteen women entrepreneurs will comprise the inaugural class of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. The group of women, selected through a rigorous competitive process in the fall of 2015, will have the opportunity to operate their small businesses in an incubator environment, with designated workspace, for 15 months.

The 15 women-owned businesses are: Lynn Lilly, CraftBox Girls; Melanie Rhodes, MelanCo. Enterprises/DSS Experts; Samantha Hodgkins, SparkFire Active LLC; Joanna Douglas, Parketing; Dawn Belisle, Delights by Dawn; Jeannell Darden, Cococurls; Jennifer Bluemling, Borrowed By Design; Sherry Popovic, cME compete; Cicely Gay, Amplifiers Inc.; Logan Williams, Rapid Parking Solutions; Adrienne Brown, Adrienne J. Media; Tiffany Ray, Generation Infocus, Monica Hooks, m-oracle; Sheila Woodhouse, DoxMed; and Tonya Hicks, Women Do Everything.

The businesses are all for-profit, and represent information and communication technology, product-based retail, digital media and marketing, education and training, beauty and healthcare, transportation technology, and food and beverage service.

WEI will be housed on the 11th floor of the Downtown’s iconic Flatiron Building – the city’s oldest standing skyscraper. The 40,000 square foot landmark will be a unique collaborative space and serve as a technologically-advanced backdrop to Atlanta’s emerging and existing entrepreneurs.

“Announcing the 15 women selected for the inaugural WEI class is an important step forward in strengthening our city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Mayor Kasim Reed during last month’s State of the City address. “This initiative will assist women who aspire to entrepreneurial excellence by providing them with the resources they need to grow a successful business. With the help of Microsoft and other partners, these women entrepreneurs will receive mentorship, business coaching and access to technology and office space at no cost to them.”

Along with providing space, WEI will provide seasoned mentors and consultants, technology resources via Microsoft, and post-incubation support to reinforce business longevity and success once back in the community.

Applications for the next class of entrepreneurs will be available in early 2017. For more information about the program, visit weiatlanta.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.