Over $50,000 Awarded to Local Entrepreneurs Through LaunchPad Bootcamp Series

WOODSTOCK, GA  The Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) awarded over $50,000 to their first LaunchPad Bootcamp Series graduates – with more opportunities to come.

The first LaunchPad Bootcamp Series kicked off this January with 14 participants. The free 4-week series comes as a partnership between COED and Kennesaw State University’s Hatchbridge Incubator. It is designed to guide Cherokee County emerging entrepreneurs in launching their business idea or new product to help them grow in Cherokee’s entrepreneurial space.

Each participant had the opportunity to earn up to $5,000 to advance their venture. Out of 13 graduates, 11 were eligible to apply for the mini grant. COED awarded $51,935 among those 11 for its inaugural session, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) distributed by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners.

“I’d recommend LaunchPad to any entrepreneur starting a business or launching a new product,” said LaunchPad participant John Cloonan of AUDAXIS, “The toolset presented helps you challenge your assumptions and think about who you’re really targeting, both from a company and a personal level.”

Each week, participants researched, refined and prepared their venture for launch. Participants walked away from the series with an idea deck, business model canvas and go-to market.

“I entered LaunchPad with a solid idea and I left with the tools to build it into a stable reality,” said Bryttany Hyde of The Little Sober Bar. “HatchBridge and COED have built a program that dives deep in a short amount of time but does so in a way that makes business make sense.”

Applications for LaunchPad Q2 are open now and due April 5, with limited spots avilable. The second session of LaunchPad will meet on April 16, 23, 30 and May 7 between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. at The Circuit Woodstock, One Innovation Way, Woodstock, Georgia 30188.

“If you are looking to start a business in Cherokee County, or you are in the beginning phase of opening a business, LaunchPad is an amazing resource that will give you that initial boost you are looking for,” said Jessica Helms of Parlaylee. “You will leave each class with pages of notes, and you will get to work through issues you are facing in real time with experienced instructors and fellow founders who are facing similar challenges.”

“I would highly recommend this program to any entrepreneur in Cherokee County, and I am grateful to live in a county that invests so much into entrepreneurs!” said Helms.

To be eligible for funding, applicants must complete the full 4-week bootcamp series and all assignments, be a resident or business located in Cherokee County and must submit a completed mini grant application.

To secure one of 15 spots in LaunchPad Q2 and have the chance to earn up to $5,000, apply at cherokeega.org/launchpad. For more information, reach out to Program Manager Lee Smith at LSmith@cherokeega.org.

COED is collaborating with HatchBridge Incubator, an incubator service born from Kennesaw State University, that helps grow startups in the Atlanta suburbs. Hatchbridge also offers a co-working space to help entrepreneurs kick start their venture. Learn more at Hatchbridge.com.

This program is offered as part of COED’s Fresh Start Cherokee initiative, which aims to create a culture of entrepreneurship in Cherokee County. Visit FreshStartCherokee.com to learn more.

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About the Cherokee Office of Economic Development

COED is Cherokee’s leading organization for business and film recruitment, and industry retention and expansion. For more information, visit www.cherokeega.org.