Club E Atlanta (www.clubeatlanta.com), a public-private partnership that promotes entrepreneurship, will hold a grand opening for its 11,000-square-foot facility in College Park, a suburb of Atlanta, on June 27, marking an exciting new chapter for the City of College Park and area entrepreneurs.
“People come up to me and ask me, ‘What’s a Club E?’” said Bob Johnson, the founder of Club E Atlanta and driving force behind its creation. “What we are is an empowerment zone.”
Judging by the hundreds of dignitaries, citizens and entrepreneurs who attended the ribbon cutting on May 27, Club E Atlanta is already doing its job. Johnson has leased most of the permanent suites in the facility, which will also feature dozens of temporary stations for entrepreneurs, who need to rent office space by the day and even the hour.
“The energy in the building will be different than what a typical entrepreneur is accustomed to,” said Johnson. “Club E Atlanta will feed off the creative energy of the people and a strong sense of collaboration. It will become a gathering place for upcoming and seasoned entrepreneurs to mingle, along with the space to incubate their businesses.”
Peter J. Burns, III, the founder of Club E., credited Johnson and College Park’s Director of Economic Development Barbara Coffee with having the drive to make his vision of a collaborative workspace a reality.
“Club E Atlanta is a model for how the private and public sector can work together to revitalize a once vibrant downtown in Small Town America,” said Burns (http://peterburnsiii.com/). “Through the hard work of Bob, Barbara and countless others, Club E Atlanta has taken old and unused space and jump started a local economy with entrepreneurial initiatives like workshops.”
Burns added that the concept is ripe for replication. “The SBA grant both assisted and validated the Club E concept and created a model from which to work from. Downtown College Park now resonates with positive energy and hope for American entrepreneurship. Other communities could benefit from this.”
Club E Atlanta’s impact was felt before the doors had even opened. Johnson named One Talent, Inc., a local program that assists at-risk girls with skills to remove them from a bad situation, with the New Business Plan award at the ribbon cutting ceremony, entitling the fledgling company with one year of free rent and $5,000 in Club E money.